Carpets and Falls
We’ve all done it. We rumple up the carpet when we’re vacuuming, and then later when we walk through the room, we catch our toe on the wrinkle and trip. This is usually not a big deal. We stumble a bit, but we usually catch ourselves before we even fall down.
Unfortunately, though, this isn’t the case with many seniors. Seniors often have trouble with balance due to medical issues, or have problems with their vision that don’t allow them to see a fold in the carpet until they have already tripped over it.
A fall can be devastating for a senior, because it puts them at risk for a fracture and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in some extreme cases. So how can we help?
The first thing to do is to smooth down your carpet.
When you are vacuuming, don’t forget to make sure that the carpet is flat when you’re finished, and be sure to check it at other times as well. If your carpet isn’t stuck to the floor, it can wrinkle at any time due to traffic over it or moving furniture, etc., so you and your home care aide should always keep an eye on it to make sure that it is flat, so no one (including you) trips over it.
The second thing you can do is to tape down loose rugs or carpets with double-backed tape.
This will keep them from sliding, or from coming out from under your loved one’s feet when they are walking on it. An unfixed rug in a home with an ailing senior can be a huge risk for so many reasons: aside from the ones already mentioned, they can get caught on your loved one’s shoe and cause them to trip, or they can just slide right out from under them, bringing the senior down too. But, simply taping down the rug can solve all of these problems. A rug that can’t move can’t wrinkle or slide, and this means that it is safe to use in a home with a senior with mobility or balance risks.
Another alternative, is getting rid of rugs in your home all together.
They might be pretty, but in a home with slick hardwood floors and a senior with mobility problems, a rug is nothing but an invitation for trouble. If you can tape it down, that’s great, but in some cases it might just be better to take the rug out of the equation all together.
There are many things that can cause a fall for a senior, but carpets are one risk that you can control very easily. A bit of tape and a bit of monitoring by you and/or your home care aide can solve everything. If you secure the carpets, making sure that they are flat and can’t move easily, you can prevent many of the most common falling situations. This then prevents things like fractures, broken bones, bruises, scrapes, scabs, scars, and even the PTSD or anxiety disorders that might result from a terrifying fall.