Did you know that more than one in three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall every year? In fact, falls are the number one cause of senior injuries. Falls can be caused by tripping, sliding, or any number of household accidents. The majority of these falls (a whopping 70%) happen at home. And, when you have reached a certain age, it is not always easy to get up, brush yourself off, and continue with your day. Falls, even ones that are not fatal, can still be life-altering. Senior falls can result in cuts, fractured or broken bones, and serious head and brain injuries. Sustained injuries may necessitate hospital stays, mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers, hiring a caregiver, or moving to a new home. Those who suffer only minor injuries may be so frightened they will avoid activities that bring them joy.
Senior Safety Tips for Preventing Falls at Home
While many falls can be life-altering or even deadly, they can also be prevented. One of the most effective ways to prevent home injuries is to utilize a senior care program. However, there are other ways to lower the risk and ensure your safety when a care worker is not present to assist you. Read below for some ideas on how to greatly reduce the chances of dangerous slips, trips, and falls at home:
1. Make Personal Health and Wellness a Priority
See your doctor regularly, and tell them about any concerns regarding your health. Regularly seeing a doctor can prevent injuries, because it will allow your doctor to diagnose an issue before it has the chance to become a bigger problem.
Introduce an exercise routine into your daily lifestyle. Tai Chi or yoga are excellent ways to increase your mobility, flexibility, and strength in joints and major muscle groups. You can always exercise in a chair if standing is uncomfortable. You can try aquatic exercise, as well, for a full range of motion.
2. Dress Correctly to Prevent Injuries
Preventing falls at home and making yourself safer can be as simple as dressing correctly. Make yourself comfortable, of course, but avoid wearing loose clothing that drags on the ground. Wear hip pads if you are at high risk for falling. Remember to wear shoes, even when inside the house. While socks may be comfortable, they have less traction, and present a major risk for slipping on floors. If you must wear just socks, purchase non-slip socks with grips on the soles. Wear your glasses if you have impaired vision. Finally, keep hair out of your eyes with a hat or headband, so that you can see properly.
3. Create a Safe Living Situation
While many seniors prefer to live independently, they may nonetheless be affected by hearing loss, declining vision, loss of mobility, and more. Homes that were once perfect for them may now be unable to accommodate their physical needs. Implementing extra safety precautions in your home can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Consider some of the following to help make your home as safe as possible:
- Try to limit your use of stairs
- When possible, repair or replace rickety or steep stairs
- Install extra safety features to stairs, such as handrails, lights, rubber grips, or stair lift seats
- Make sure there is enough lighting in your home for you to see where you are going, especially at night
- Remove obstacles that could cause trips such as electrical cords, rugs, and any clutter or loose items
4. Bathroom Safety
Bathrooms are host to a slew of slipping hazards and hard surfaces, making potential falls both more likely to happen, and more dangerous. Ensuring that your bathroom is equipped with non-slip mats can greatly decrease the risk of accidents and injuries. These mats not only reduce the chances of slipping, but can cushion a fall in the event of an accident. Grab bars in the shower wall can make stepping in and out of the bathtub much safer. For those who have trouble standing on their own, or are nervous about standing in the shower, a shower chair is also a great way to wash carefully. Handrails can be very helpful for getting on and off the toilet, as can a raised toilet seat. There are also ways to make your bathroom safer without having to buy or install new equipment. For example, you can keep the floor free of clutter, wet towels, or anything else that can obscure the floor or be tripped over. Finally, put all daily-use items like shampoo, deodorant, or shaving creams where they can be easily reached.
5. Fire and Kitchen Safety
Fire safety is an important part of preventing home injuries, and there are many simple ways to prevent fires and ensure your safety in the event of an emergency. You could, for example, use a microwave more frequently than your stove. You can also make sure all smoke detectors in your house are working, and replace their batteries regularly. Have a carbon monoxide detector installed, as well, for added protection against harmful gasses. Keep stoves free of items that could catch fire, such as paperwork, oven mitts, or wooden utensils. Never leave your stove completely unattended while in use, and use timers to keep yourself aware of food in the oven or on the stovetop. Avoid wearing loose clothing around the stove; make sure you have enough lighting in your kitchen; and, of course, always keep a working fire extinguisher nearby.
6. Stay connected
Keep a cell phone or telephone nearby, with emergency contacts saved, so that you can communicate if you have fallen and cannot move, are trapped in your room by fire or smoke, or if you just need assistance with everyday tasks. Having in-home personal care in is a wonderful idea if you or a loved one requires more assistance. Integrity, Inc. offers elder care options in the Little Rock area. Contact us today on our website, or give us a call at (877) 452-9504, and discover what we can do to help you or an elderly loved one live safely and securely.
The Best In-Home Senior Care in Little Rock
If the options listed above are not effective in reducing the risk of injury for yourself or your loved one, your next step may be to utilize in-home care services, much like those provided by Integrity, Inc. in Little Rock. Integrity’s therapists provide treatments such as strength and balance training, and energy conservation techniques. We also offer room-specific training for safe bathing, kitchen use, and using assistive devices. Such training can improve safety whether out on the town or at home.
Integrity Inc. is a non-profit, community services organization that provides community-based in-home care, and rehabilitative therapy services in Little Rock. Integrity offers exceptional care and services for qualified adults, all in the privacy of their own homes. Located in Central Arkansas and licensed by the Division of Developmental Disability Services of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Integrity supports qualified adults in their homes by providing senior care programs and rehabilitation training, allowing seniors to stay active in their community.
Visit our website, or call us at (877) 452-9504 to learn more about how Integrity helps qualified individuals stay independent and active in their community. Check out Integrity’s Blog to read about Home Care, Rehabilitative Therapy, Disability Services, Elder Care, Foster Care, and Child Care Services.