According to the CDC, a staggering 36 million falls among older adults are reported yearly – resulting in over 32,000 deaths. Falls are often part of aging and are actually more common among seniors than any other group. The risk of falls increases with age, and your loved one could potentially suffer a traumatic brain injury, fractures, breaks, or even death. If you’re now living with an aging parent or a senior, you’ll quickly realize there are changes you need to make in and around your house to prevent falls. Below, we look at some practices for fall-proofing your home.
Pathways, Hallways, and Stairways
Stairs and pathways are some of the culprits of falls in your home. Ensure that you secure your stairs by installing sturdy handrails. Properly lighting the stairway also ensures that your loved one has a clear view of every step.
Putting a strip of colored tape or bright paint on the last step of the staircase makes it easily distinguishable and minimizes the risk of a fall. Keeping the stairway clear of books, clothes, or shoes also goes a long way in preventing falls.
Check that carpets and rugs in hallways and living spaces are firmly fixed – avoid small area rugs or throw rugs. Consider placing rubber or non-slip mats in the most frequented areas if you have polished floors.
Ensure that outside paths are clear and free from debris. Keep plants tamed and trimmed if you have a garden at the front or back of your house. Most importantly, ensure that these pathways are well-lit to make them safe for your loved one.
Bathrooms and Bedrooms
Wet floors in bathrooms are serious fall hazards. In addition to keeping such areas mopped up, check for any faulty water fixtures that may require repair to keep leaks at bay. Additionally, use non-slip mats in the shower and around the sink.
Mount grab bars next to the toilet, inside and outside the shower and tub. Keep the bedroom well-lit by installing light fixtures that evenly distribute bright light.
Other Living Areas
Generally, keep living areas well-lit and free from clutter. Keep electrical cords and any other types of wires away from the living areas and walking paths. Rearrange your furniture to avoid having a crowded living space. Also, keep away any step stools and instead encourage your loved one to use a “reach stick” or ask for help if they want to reach an item that is too high.
Living with an older adult in a home that isn’t fall-proofed is a grave mistake. These tips will help keep your loved one safe from potential brain injury, breaks, or fractures by minimizing the risk of falls.