For seniors 65 and older, falling is one of the most common sources of injuries around the home. In fact, one out of every three seniors fall every year. The potential consequences of this problem lie within the fact that seniors are especially prone to injury from falling due to the influences of aging, which includes decreased levels of coordination, balance, and flexibility. Additionally, as we age, our bones deteriorate and lose their strength. Minor falls can potentially result in a severe injury.
The good thing about falls is that many of them are preventable. To ensure the safety of the senior in your home, it is important to know the most common household sources of trips and slips for elders.
Below are four of the most common senior falling hazards to watch for:
Studies have shown that falls caused by loose and detached rugs and carpets are a major cause of injury in adults age 65 or older. The danger of these unsecure rugs is due to their tendency to bunch or bulk up, making them easy to trip over.
Getting stuff out might be easy, but putting things away in their proper places is another story. Clutter left out is another prime cause of senior falls, so make time to ensure your floors are clear of possible tripping hazards, including toys, food, games, trash, and any other debris with the potential to trigger a fall; this includes pets.
Lack of Light or Too Much Light
When we age, less light is able to enter the retina, making it more difficult to see divergent edges and obstacles in a pathway. Too much light can also be hazardous, because it can cause a glare.
As we age, our coordination decreases drastically, and staircases that are too steep or too long can become an issue. Seniors may have problems reaching the top of a steep staircase because of muscle fatigue, which can result in falls.
How can we prevent falls?
With aging, there is a decrease in muscular strength, response time, flexibility and cognition. Exercise can help improve these by focusing on agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and power.
- Agility helps maintain balance. Continue walks around the home or backyard.
- Balance is dependent on the vestibular system, vision, and the ability to maintain good head stability in space. Medication may affect the ability to balance. Make sure hearing and vision are checked regularly.
- Work on coordination by using movements that cross the body. Use the left hand instead of the right. Caregivers can assist with ROM (range of motion) exercises as prescribed.
- Moving at a different pace/speed improves response time. Dance to different music tempos.
- Improve lower body power by practicing “stand up, sit down.” This replicates getting in and out of a car or chair and helps stability. This also helps manage stairs. If you have stairs in your home, secure handrails on each side of all staircases.
- Grab bars in bathrooms and hallways
- Nonskid flooring
- Remove throw rugs. The best option is to not use them at all or only use them in parts of your home where people do not usually walk.
- Adequate lighting. To dramatically reduce the chances of slips due to lighting, make sure your home is well-lit, but not too bright or dimly lit. It may also be a good idea to make sure light switches and lamps are easily accessible. Watch out for cords.
- Low bed heights
- Walkers or other assistive devices as prescribed
- Proper footwear and clothing
- Pets can be a trip hazard
Arista Home Care Solutions provides care for your loved one and respite care for you. Call us today at (419) 754-1897. We are here to help.