The majority of people age 50 and up want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible. Most seniors would like to age in place rather than move into assisted living or even with family members. But senior falls make it much more challenging to remain at home, and the risk of them poses a real threat to a senior’s independence.
The risk of falling goes up as we age. People over the age of 65 have more than a one in three chance of experiencing a fall. The results can be life-changing — broken bones, a hospital stay or even death could occur. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent the risk of senior falls at home.
Change the Environment to Prevent Senior Falls
It can be tougher to get around at home as we get older. Take a look around to spot potential hazards. Make sure electrical cords and phone cords don’t cross walkways — tape them down if necessary. Low furniture, like coffee tables and magazine racks, poses trip and fall hazards. Make sure they aren’t placed in high-traffic areas at home.
Get rid of loose throw rugs or ensure they are secured to the floor. Store frequently used items where they are easy to reach and don’t require you to lean forward too far or balance on one leg to access.
Make sure the living space is well-lit. People tend to make more frequent trips to the bathroom at night when they get older. Put nightlights in the hallway and bathroom. Placing a motion-activated nightlight in the bedroom is also a good idea.
Fall-detection devices give peace of mind for seniors living on their own. These wearable devices have the technology to sense a fall and contact first responders and other pre-designated contacts to send help right away.
Senior Health Assessments to Help Prevent Falls at Home
Make sure your medications are managed correctly and that you’re aware if any have side effects that raise the risk of falling. Sedatives, antihistamines, and any other type of medication that makes you feel tired are drugs that you should consider limiting or avoiding.
Health conditions that make you dizzy increase the risk of falls. So can joint pain or numbness in your legs. Medicare and Medicaid typically allow for one senior health assessment meeting each year. Your doctor can assess your fall risk based on criteria defined by the CDC’s STEADI initiative.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of falls because it impacts bone, muscle and nerve health. It makes sense to get your levels tested. Getting your eyes and feet checked at least once a year can help prevent falls.
Exercise to Prevent Senior Falls at Home
Improving leg strength and balance helps prevent falls at home. Encourage your loved one to join a local Silver-Sneakers program or practice some basic exercises at home. Tai Chi is noted as beneficial for improving balance and preventing falls in seniors. The CDC has a helpful tool called MyMobility Plan that helps seniors and their loved ones prepare for and adapt to changes in mobility. The plan’s objective is to help older people stay active and independent.
If your loved one needs help with completing daily tasks at home, Caring Healthcare is here for you. Seniors can maintain the independence they value while getting the assistance they need, such as help with meals, housekeeping, errands, and transportation. Contact us today to learn more.