We have all fallen and, perhaps, scratched a knee or dislocated a shoulder. It wasn’t a serious problem and we recovered. 

However, for a senior, a fall can be serious, even fatal. Falls can diminish functions, cause loss of mobility, limit activities, fracture the hip, humerus, pelvis, and forearm. Based on CDC 2018 data, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults 65 and older. The age-adjusted fall death rate is 64 deaths per 100,000 older adults, which is an almost 30% increase since 2009. The fastest-growing rate was among adults 85 and older.

Falls Prevention Awareness Week is September 21-25, 2020. This is the perfect time to decrease the risk of falls by seniors by taking preventative measures that reduce risk factors. Here are several steps you can take during this week:

  1. Home safety measures: Install a stairlift, add more lighting, add motion-activated night light, clap on overhead lights, and motion-activated lamps. Make a risk zone list of places in the home where they may fall then commit these to memory. Stay away from these areas or take fall prevention measures to reduce the risk. 
  2. Install bed rails: Getting in and out of bed can be risky for some seniors. Bed rails reduce the chances of falling and also a way of anchoring them when they are ready to get out of bed. 
  3. Install bathroom safety accessories: The bathroom is the most dangerous place for seniors, especially due to wet floors. The addition of support bars next to the toilet and sink, non-slip rubber mats in the tub and front of the tub will make bathing much safer. 
  4. Walk-in tub: These types of tubs are much safer by allowing seniors to walk in and out without lifting their feet up and over the siding of a traditional tub. They can sit inside the tub and bathe as usual. 
  5. Wear practical shoes: Shoes that are at an angle or sit high can put them at a greater risk of falling. They can be difficult to walk in and are a fall risk. Instead, purchase slip-on shoes with arch support, and can be slipped on while standing or sitting.
  6. Speak openly with family and friends: There needs to be an open and honest conversation with the senior, their family, and caretakers. By setting up a communication system, everyone can work together to prevent falls. Have the grandchildren keep high-traffic areas clean and give the senior a cell phone they can use to contact them quickly. Lastly, the family should stop by as often as possible to check in on them. 

Fall prevention is a team effort with family, caretakers, neighbors, and the seniors working together so they are safe. Use common sense and consult their physician on all safety measures that can be taken. All it takes are a few equipment installations and creating an efficient communication system to provide a safer home for your aging loved one. 

CarePlus Home Health is one of Montgomery County, Maryland’s, most experienced home care agencies, providing assisted daily living, skilled nursing, 24-hour home care, and stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care. Our mission is to give professional and compassionate care to individuals, while helping them maintain their independence and quality of life, either in their home or in community settings. Please feel welcome to call us at 301-740-8870 or use our contact form to discuss your home care needs or those of an older loved one.