Tips for Fall Prevention
For many seniors, “aging in place” can provide the freedom and comfort they desire in their golden years. Unfortunately, that freedom can be a double edged sword; living alone can raise important safety concerns, especially when it comes to falls. Falling down in the home may not seem that dangerous but it’s actually the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries for people over the age of 65. If you’re a senior who is living alone, all of us at Summerset Senior Living want to help you stay safe as you age in place. We thought the start of fall would be the perfect time to give you a few tips to prevent falls in your home so you can enjoy your independence without having to worry.
Get the Clutter under Control
We know housekeeping can be a chore and it’s easy to put it off until later. Unfortunately, if you keep putting it off, your house can end up in a sorry state, one that can be dangerous for you and your guests. Clutter – like empty boxes, stacks of papers, and household items that haven’t been put away – can easily become a tripping hazard, especially if it’s located in high-traffic areas like hallways and stairs. By clearing out this clutter, you’ll be making your home safer by reducing your chances of tripping and falling.
Install Safety Equipment
Many homes, especially older ones, are not equipped with safety measures that could help you prevent a fall. Your staircases are a good place to start; if you don’t have handrails, putting them in will give you something to grab onto as you go up and down the stairs. Just ensure they’re attached firmly to a stud, otherwise they might come loose from the wall during a fall. Your shower is another common place for falls, so putting in a set of grab bars will help you stay upright as you get clean.
There are plenty of other ways to upgrade your home and make it safer, so we suggest talking to a licensed contractor about some of the following safety measures:
- Toilet surround with grab bars
- Shower chair
- Phones in every room of the house
- Non-slip grip tape on stairs
- Move light switches closer to the bed
- Motion-sensing lights in hallways or stairwells
- Fix uneven thresholds between rooms
- Install ramps instead of stairs
- Install a stair lift
You may be able to complete a few of these projects yourself, or with the help of a friend or family member, but some will require the assistance of a licensed contractor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Be Aware of Health Conditions and Medications That Can Cause Falls
Conditions like cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, nerve damage, and head injuries can all cause symptoms that affect your balance. In addition, the medications used to treat some conditions carry side-effects that can make it difficult for you to balance. Even poor eyesight can be a falling hazard, especially at night! If you’re worried about falls, be sure to talk to your doctor about any conditions you may be living with and find out if they might put you at risk for a fall. Also ask about all the medications you’re taking and find out if they can affect your balance. Finally, if you have problems with your eyesight, always make sure you keep your prescription up to date so you can be more aware of your environment and avoid falling hazards.
While we have outlined just a few fall prevention measures in this blog post, know that there are many other steps you can take to mitigate your risk of being injured in a fall. If you’re concerned about falls, it couldn’t hurt to do a bit of research. The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence and Aging in Place are both great resources, so visit stopfalls.org or aginginplace.org to find out more.
Of course, aging in place may not be appropriate for every senior. If your home can’t be upgraded to be safer, or if you don’t have family or friends nearby who can check on you regularly, it might make sense to make the transition to a senior living community. At Summerset Senior Living, we provide a safe environment for our residents, friendly staff to take care of their needs, and emergency medical care that’s always close by. Give us a call today at (916) 620-8622, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our online contact form to find out more or to schedule your free tour today!