As we age, fall prevention becomes ever more crucial. Therefore, it is important to learn more about how to prevent your elderly loved ones from falling both indoors and outdoors. In this article, we will cover:
- Importance of Fall Prevention
- Checklist for Fall Prevention At Home
- Preventing Falls in the Bathroom
- Preventing Falls in the Bedroom
- Outdoor Fall Prevention
#1 Importance of Fall Prevention
Did you know that one out of every three seniors suffers a fall every year? Falls have become the leading cause of death, injuries and hospital admissions among the elderly.
Falls have profound physical and psychological consequences on both the elderly person and their loved ones. Injuries sustained from falls include bruising and fractures. In some cases, these injuries may prove to be fatal.
Falls can also have traumatic psychological effects on the entire family. For example, the family could develop a Fear of Further Falling Syndrome and try to restrict the activities of the elderly person. Research has shown that every day of bed rest reduces an individual’s confidence in walking as well as their muscle mass. In the long run, the individual could lose their ability to walk permanently.
However, the majority of these falls occurred in homes with more than 50% of falls being attributed to accidental or environmental causes. This statistic suggests that these falls can be easily prevented. Hence, there is a need to understand falls and where they occur to effectively prevent falls and help your elderly loved ones age well at home.
Related Article: What Causes the Elderly to Fall?
#2 Checklist for Fall Prevention At Home
If you are just starting out, here are some things to look out for to effectively prevent your elderly loved ones from falling at home:
- Is there reliable support at high-risk areas, such as the bathroom?
- Can you sit down securely while carrying out high-risk activities, such as showering?
- Is the floor slippery at any time?
- Is there a risk that someone might fall out of bed?
- Is there adequate lighting?
These five questions will help you to decide where to begin your fall-proofing efforts.
Besides those touchpoints, you should also be mindful to keep the floor free of clutter. This will help to prevent your loved ones from tripping. If you want to know more, here are some things that you should do to maintain the safety of your house for your elderly loved ones.
Related Article: 4 Areas of Your House That You Need to Fall Proof
#3 Preventing Falls in the Bathroom
Why do so many falls happen in the bathroom? The slippery surfaces of bathroom floors and tiles often make bathrooms one of the most dangerous places in a home for seniors. From moving around the shower area to using the toilet, these day-to-day activities could prove fatal to an elderly person if your bathroom was not elderly-friendly!
If you want to effectively prevent falls in the bathroom, here are some areas that you should definitely look out for:
- Bathroom Entrance: Doors should be safe and convenient.
- Flooring: Install or create non-slip surfaces
- Shower Area: Consider getting a shower chair to provide more comfort and safety while showering.
Related Article: How To Make Your Shower Area Safe For the Elderly
- Grab Bars on Walls: Provide non-slip support at high-risk areas of your bathroom.
Related Article: Useful Tips - Where To Install Grab Bars In Your Home
- Lighting: Ensure proper and adequate lighting
#4 Preventing Falls in the Bedroom
Falls in the bedroom usually happens in two ways. First, the elderly person might have rolled off the bed accidentally. This could be due to the side effects of medication or deteriorating balance and coordination.
Secondly, the elderly person might have fallen while trying to get out of bed. While our soft and concave mattresses might help us to go to bed, it provides little leverage for getting out of bed. As hard as it is for younger folks, getting out of bed can be really tricky, or even risky, for the elderly.
In both these instances, you can make some simple adjustments to your bedroom to effectively prevent falls.
- Choose a suitable height for your beds: Opt for a bed that is at knee level of the person who uses the bed for easy access
- Choose the right type of mattresses: Concave mattresses can help to minimize the chances of someone rolling out of bed while flat mattresses make getting out of bed much easier
- Install bed rails: Bed rails have been increasingly popular over the years because it helps to enhance bed safety and security. Furthermore, they are much more economical and pleasing than hospital beds. Check out our best-selling bed rails: Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail for Fall Prevention and Stander Bedside Econorail.
Related Article: Choosing the Right Bed Rails
#5 Outdoor Fall Prevention
While indoor fall prevention is important, it is equally important to prevent falls when you are out and about. With these tips, you and your elderly loved ones could venture outside safely and confidently.
- Wear Proper Walking Shoes: Opt for thinner and non-slip soles to minimize chances of slips outdoors.
- Look Out: Always keep an eye out for what’s ahead. Being mindful could help you avoid slips and trips.
- Use the Right Walking Aids: Are you or your elderly loved ones always holding onto random areas for leverage and balance? You might need walking aid. Everyone’s mobility needs are different. Check out our ‘Introduction to the Mobility Spectrum’ article to find out if you or your elderly loved ones need a mobility aid and which ones are the most suitable.
Related Article: How To Choose The Right Walking Stick