According to the CDC (cdc.gov) falling down is the leading cause of death and injury among older adults. Falls are often due to hazards easy to fix, yet often overlooked, and each year, thousands of older adults fall at home, causing serious injuries and death.
Some signs an older adult may be at risk of falling are a change in walking gait, difficulty getting in and out of chairs or bed, not able to see clearly, shuffling instead of lifting feet when walking, impairment diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, or Arthritis, and fear of falling. Watch for signs and take steps to help with preventative measure around the home and encourage practicing walking safely outside the home as well.
The fear of falling can create stress and lack of confidence. Take preventative measures around the home to help reduce the risk of falling. A suggested checklist below will help assess an in-home fall risk.
Q: When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture?
A: Move the furniture so your path is clear.
Q: Do you have throw rugs on the floor?
A: Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.
Q: Are there papers, books, towels, shoes, magazines, boxes, blankets, or other objects on the floor?
A: Pick up things that are on the floor. Always keep objects off the floor.
Q: Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords (like lamp, telephone, or extension cords)?
A: Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you are less likely to trip over them.
Q: Has the stairway light bulb burned out?
A: Have a friend or family member change the light bulb.
Q: Is the tub or shower floor slippery?
A: Puta non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
Q: Is the light near the bed hard to reach?
A: Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.
Q: Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?
A: Put in a night-light so you can see where you’re walking.
Other things one can do to help prevent falls:
- Exercise regularly – this makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.
- Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision increases the risk of falling.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
- Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up.
- Consider wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.
Partners In Care is locally-owned and operated family business providing non-medical home-care in nine Northern California counties.