Preventing the Elderly from Falling

Living alone with limited mobility or lack of balance and strength can be nerve-racking. It can be an equally frightening thought for those with loved ones in poor physical condition living on their own. Falls are the leading cause of deaths related to injury for people age 65 and older. Thankfully, there are several routes to take to limit, if not eliminate, fall risks in the home. Simple adjustments in the home can have a major impact on safety.

Who is at Risk?

The risks of falling for seniors are higher for several reasons:

  • Your balance isn’t as good as it once was and your depth perception and reaction times may not be what they used to be. Some medications can affect your balance, as well.
  • If you have osteoporosis, a degenerative disease that causes the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density, your risk of a hip fracture from a fall is increased.
  • Men are at higher risk of death from falling than women. Women, however, are more likely to sustain injuries from a fall than men. For instance, women are two times more likely than men to suffer a hip fracture.
  • Individuals 75 and older that experience a fall are up to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or more than individuals in the age group of 65 to 74.
  • One last statistic before moving on; chances of serious injury from falling for seniors 85 and older are four times more likely to occur than individuals in the age group of 65 to 74.

Changes to Make Around the Home

A routine Spring cleaning is a great start to achieving a safer home environment. Cleaning up the clutter around your home (i.e. moving or selling furniture and statement pieces you may no longer need) and removing area rugs will allow you more space to move easily through without the worry of tripping or bumping into anything.

Adding accessories to your home can improve your mobility and keep you stable as well. Installing grab bars and handrails are crucial for going up and down stairs, assisting you on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the shower or bathtub without injuring yourself. It is suggested that you install grab bars by toilets and bathtubs and handrails in stairways and hallways. Have a handyman or family member help with this if necessary. While on the subject of safer bathrooms, make it slip resistant. Bathtubs and showers, as well as any other tiled or laminated flooring, can become slick and cause slip and fall injuries.

Medical Equipment

The risk of falling does not end when the day is through. While sleeping you can easily fall out of bed and a fall from bed can result in broken bones, head trauma, and lacerations. Installing adult bed rails could be the right solution to prevent these injuries from occurring while you are sound asleep. One popular bed guard rail for adults is the Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail, which is length adjustable, folds out of the way when it’s not in use, and features a full organizer pouch for extra convenience.

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