Falls for seniors are serious and potentially life threatening. One in every five falls does cause a serious injury such as broken bone or head injury which can significantly affect the quality of life for seniors.
Did you know?—–Fall Statistics CDC
-One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
-Each year, 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
-Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,7 usually by falling sideways.
-Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Read full article: https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of falling at home or elder care facilities.
Don’t be in a rush
Encourage seniors not to be in a rush to do anything and not try to do multiple things at once. Moving too fast encourages falls. Never be in a rush to answer the door or answer the telephone. Running to the washroom is frequently tempting but it is better to use incontinence supplies than to have a fall.
Don’t be too proud
Mobility and independence can carry a sense of pride. But you need to swallow that pride for safety. Seniors should consider using assisted mobility not necessarily all the time (physical activity is important as well), but at those times when you may feel tired or dizzy etc. Devices such as wheelchairs, power scooters, stairlifts, wheeled walkers, canes can reduce your risk of falling at vulnerable times.
Monitor your health
Regular checkups with a health practitioner to monitor senior health may reduce risk of falling. Being the healthiest version of your self with doctor approved mild exercises and healthy eating enourages a stronger body that will equip seniors to handle the risk of falls. Monitoring levels such as blood pressure and blood sugar may reduce the risk of weakness, dizziness & poor vision which can increase the risk of falls.
Slippery floors & bathtubs
Ensure there are no slipperly floors in the home. Non slip safety grits that can be applied to the floor.
Bathtubs. Non slip bathtub mats. There are baththubs specifically designed for seniors with varying walk-in models and seats. Do your research and find one that’s safest for you. Also ensure that loose slippers are not worn but comfortable shoes.
Remove tripping hazards
Take inventory of the items in your house. Notice the most common walking areas of seniors. Ensure there is a clean and safe space for them to walk. Rid your home of loose rugs (can be taped down), and unnecessary clutter in the walkway that could be a tripping hazard.
Store items where they are easier to reach such as around chest level. Items above the senior’s reach may require a chair or stool which may throw them off balance resulting in a fall. Equally, items deep under the cupboard can throw a senior off balance.
Avoid Winter hazards
Unless you have something significantly important to do, avoid going out when the weather is bad. It can wait another day. Many winter days include slippery walkways, driveways, sidewalks and store fronts due to snow. Ensure that someone is there to assist the senior with walking if you need to go out on those days. Seniors should also have someone responsible for shovelling snow and salting (de-icing) walkways.
Stairs can be a challenge for many seniors. They take a lot of energy and require balance. Ensure Stairs should have proper handrails installed and stairlifts when necessary.