If you're a caregiver or have an elderly parent, you can greatly reduce the risk of falls with these eight steps.
1. Clean up clutter to reduce risks
Keep the walkways safe by removing boxes, plants, books, electrical and phone cords. Move plant stand, magazine racks and coffee tables from high traffic areas. That's an important step to prevent falls.
2. Remove or repair any tripping hazards
Sometimes home appliances can contribute to falls and could lead to back pain and other injuries. When you examine every room and hallway, look for items such as loose carpet, slippery throw rugs, or wooden floorboards and carpeting that stick up. With double-sided tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing, secure loose rugs or remove them altogether. For more effective fall prevention, repair, remove or replace those items right away. You should store and keep their clothing, food, and other necessities within easy reach. Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease, or food.
3. Install safety and assist devices
If they don't always use a cane or walker during the day, it's advisable for them to use balancing help at night. Grab bars and handrails are vital for going up and down the stairs, stepping in and out of the tub, and getting on and off the toilet without injuring themselves. Have a handyman install grab bars by toilet bowls and tubs and handrails on both sides of stairways and hallways. Consider a raised toilet seat or one with a rests. For bathing while sitting down, choose a hand-held shower nozzle and a sturdy plastic seat for the shower. Don't let them hold onto towel bars or soap dishes when they move in the bathroom.
4. Wear shoes and avoid loose clothing
Baggy clothes can make them more likely to fall, when they should want to feel comfortable at home. Opt for properly hemmed and better-fitting clothing that doesn't bunch up or drag on the ground.
Socks present a slipping risk, though they may be comfortable. To prevent falls at home, it's simple enough to wear shoes and slippers that fit well and have firm, non-skid soles. Or consider purchasing non-slip socks with grips on the soles of the feet, if their shoes aren't comfortable. Don't wear loose-fitting slippers or shoes.
5. Light it up
Another major hazard is inadequate lighting. Install brighter light bulbs that has the higher wattage recommended for the fixture where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways, to create a safer home for the elderly. For better guidance at night, add night-lights in bathrooms, hallways, and bedrooms. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated light switches that's not located near room entrances. Make clear paths to light switches that aren't near room entrances. Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages. Before getting out of bed, place a lamp within reach from their bed for middle-of-the-night needs. Turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs.
6. Non-slip treads
The floors of bathrooms and kitchens can be extremely dangerous when wet. The same can be said for porches, bathtubs. and showers, too. Consider non-slip mats to prevent falls on slick surfaces like the bathtub or shower and on bare-wood steps.
7. Consider living in a one-level home
Stairs present a significant falling hazard, even with precautions like guardrails. When they negotiate the stairs, tell them to be extra careful. If it's not possible for them to live on one level, tell them to try to limit the trips they take on the stairs.
8. Move carefully and keep moving
Moving too quickly from a sitting to standing position and vice versa, can also cause falls at home. They should be taking their time by preventing falls like this. They need to just pause from lying down to sitting and from sitting to standing. Also they should take a pause from using the railing for both ways too.
Consider engaging in physical activities like walking, water workouts or tai chi—a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. With your doctor's permission, those activities can improve your strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
Play it safe
If they should follow these eight steps, you can help prevent them from falling in their home at night. Consider trying some or all of them: Clean up clutter and remove tripping hazards. Wear shoes and comfortable better-fitting clothing. Add night-lights and keep a flashlight within easy reach. Try living in an one-level home. Move carefully and try gentle exercises to improve your fitness, flexibility and balance. Install grab bars and handrails and use non-slip mats in the bathroom.
Purchase A Reliable Medical Alert System
We highly encourage you to research purchasing your parents a medical alert system. This will protect them in case they do fall, it's very simple, they push a button and help is on the way. LifeStation.com even offers a medical alert system with fall detection capabilities. This means it will automatically detect if your parent or loved one has fallen. You can use our promo code "CPR3" at LifeStation.com to save even more.
- Happy Walking