Preventing Falls in the Home
Whether your loved one lives alone with the help of an elder care aide, or whether they live in your home with you and your family, falling can still be a danger. The elderly are much more prone to falling than their younger counterparts, due to balance issues, mobility problems, or even decreasing vision. Not all falls can be prevented, unfortunately, but many can, just by taking a few simple steps in the home, such as:
- Securing rugs – Rugs and carpets are easy to trip on even if you don’t have any of the problems described above. Folds or lumps in the carpet are just asking someone to trip on them, so make sure that all of the rugs in your and your loved one’s house are smoothed out, so there is nothing to trip over. You can also use double-sided tape to stick down the edges of the rugs or carpets, so that there are no loose ends to get caught on.
- Adding railings – Most falls happen in the bathroom, due to slippery surfaces and the difficulties that come from getting in and out of the tub. Adding rails on the side of the bathtub can help your loved one to get in and out more easily, and can keep them from slipping. You can also install railings next to the bed or along the walls in the hallway to make getting up and walking around easier.
- Getting brighter lights – Sometimes falls are caused by not being able to see well. Getting brighter lights in the home allows the senior to clearly see everything that could be in their path when they are walking. Chances are, if you see something, you won’t trip on it, so a fall will be prevented.
- Keeping walkways clean – The other side of the above coin is that you should make sure that there is nothing lying around to trip over in the first place. Clean up any of your kids’ toys, or any shoes or clothes or piles of junk that might be sitting in the walking path so that your loved one has plenty of space to walk around without stumbling.
- Getting better shoes – Slipping is another common cause of falls, but many times it can be avoided simply by getting the proper footwear for your loved one. Their shoes should fit well, and should have rubber soles that can grip the floor. There are shoes specially made to be slip-proof or skid-proof, and these can go a long way toward preventing falls.
As mentioned above, not every fall can be prevented, because we cannot always predict what will happen to cause it. However, by following the steps above, you will make your and your senior’s home much safer. If this seems like a lot of work for one person, enlist the help of your loved one’s elder care aide in keeping the house clean and the walkways clear, and know that they themselves are another asset in preventing falls, because they will be there to assist your senior if necessary.