The Top 10 Ways to Prevent Falls in Older Adults

elderly person falling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2014, over 29 million older adults experienced falls in the United States. Of those falls, seven million reported injuries. It is important for older adults and their families to take precautions to prevent fall and avoid injuries. The following are the top 10 ways to prevent falls in older adults:

  • Regular exercise. Exercise like yoga and tai chi can help improve balance while weight-bearing exercises can improve strength. If balance and strength are an issue, your provider may recommend physical therapy.
  • Move slowly. Change positions slowly, allowing time in between each position change to prevent dizziness. Also, pausing before going up or down stairs is beneficial in preventing falls.
  • Seek medical care for dizziness. Dizziness may be the cause of an underlying medical condition and should be worked up by your provider.
  • Review your medications. Have your provider or pharmacist review certain medications that may make you dizzy or drowsy.

There are also environmental causes to consider….

  • Avoid clutter. Avoiding clutter in rooms, especially cluttered floors. This is one of the easiest methods for preventing falls.  
  • Be sure your home is well-lit. Inadequate lighting is a major risk factor for falls. Be sure that narrow hallways, stairs, and bathrooms are well-lit at all times.
  • Install grab bars. Installing grab bars near your shower, tub, and toilet can provide additional support to avoid falls in the bathroom.
  • Use a non-skid bath mat. Using a non-skid bath mat in your shower or tub can prevent falls while the surface is slippery.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes. Shoes with rubber soles allow for comfort and safety by preventing slipping on slick surfaces.
  • Avoid loose clothing. Clothing that drags on the floor or bunches during walking poses a serious risk for falls.

David York Agency has added a new service where a Certified Aging In Place Specialist that can assess your home environment, make safety recommendations, and manage any work that needs to be done from start to finish. If you have any questions or would like more information on ways to prevent fall please contact us today.

Here is a checklist you might find handy –

 

For more information about David York Agencys qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Elder-Proofing Your Home is Important!

A safe home environment. It’s a must for anyone, but it’s particularly hard for the elderly to obtain. Fortunately, there are a number of different things you can do to ensure your loved ones are safer in their homes on a day to day basis, and these tips can help.

A Word of Advice
Before you begin the elder-proofing process, it’s particularly important that you talk to your loved one. Explain exactly what you plan to do, and why you plan to do so. The chances are good your loved one may feel as if his or her privacy is being invaded without having this essential discussion at the outset.

Helpful Tips 

Accessible bathtub and shower
Accessible bathtub and shower

While elder-proofing can involve extensive remodeling, that’s not always the case. Often a simple weekend of repairs can make the changes necessary to keep your loved one secure in his or her home.

  • Start in the Bathroom: The water in the bathroom makes it one of the most dangerous places in the house. Install grab bars around the tub, shower, and even the towel rack. You’ll also want to be sure you have non-slip rugs on the floor. Inside the tub and shower, install a surface that provides a solid footing so slips can’t happen.
  • Think Floors: Flooring concerns throughout the house are often present, as there are many hidden hazards that can create slip and trip situations. Remove any obstacles that might create a situation where someone could fall. Throw rugs can make people trip quite easily, and low lying furniture is an obstacle that could create a fractured hip or ankle quite quickly. You may even want to consider carpeting over slick surfaces.
  • Add Some Light: Eyesight deterioration is a natural part of aging, and homes that don’t have good lighting tend to become a safety issue. Consider some low voltage track lighting or recessed so you can keep lights on as much as possible. You may even want to add nightlights to keep it bright even when the sun sets.
  • Easy to Reach: Throughout the home, but especially in the kitchen area, make sure everything is within easy reach. Stools or ladders are serious hazards, so make sure your loved one can reach everything necessary to work in any room without a stool of any kind.
  • Keep It Stationary: From chairs to beds to couches, remove the rollers on any furniture that might move. A loved one may reach to grab a piece of furniture for stabilization, but if that furniture moves, a fall is likely.
  • Gas or Electric?: If your loved one has an gas stove, it may be time to consider a electric stove option instead. The sense of smell can diminish with age, and that makes gas powered stoves a fairly serious risk. Electric stoves tend to be far safer in that situation.
  • Stoves: For the elderly with dementia, safety knobs similar to those use for childproofing may be necessary. Dementia patients are at higher risk of putting something on the stove and forgetting that it’s there creating a serious fire hazard.

Not sure you can tackle everything that needs to be done? You may want to consult a home healthcare agency or a geriatric social worker with experience in elder-proofing the home to get a better sense of what changes should be implemented immediately.

David York Agency has done a lot of research about elder proofing homes and has compiled a concise, handy chart for caregivers to use which is available on the caregiver resources page of their website. Call today to learn about the full array of services we offer. Contact us at 718.376.7755 and visit our website.