How to Decrease a Senior’s Risk for Falls
If you are caring for an elderly loved one in your home or have an elderly family member who lives near you, you will want to take note of several ways to improve this person’s safety. Falls are a huge risk factor for many older adults, and even those who appear to be in good health can suffer greatly from a minor slip inside or outside the home. Surprisingly, approximately 25 percent of senior citizens in the United States fall every year. Many of these people have to be treated in the emergency room, and some break a bone and require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Instead of letting your loved one become a part of these statistics, follow these tips to decrease the risk of falls around the house.
- Get rid of tripping hazards.
Throw rugs, loose clothing, torn carpeting, loose floorboards, and even clutter can lead to falls.
- Install railings and grab bars.
Grab bars are particularly effective in the bathroom, which typically has a slippery floor. In addition, railings can help seniors navigate long hallways.
- Keep homes well-lit.
Even if the home has no slipping hazards, seniors may still be at risk for falls if they cannot see where they are going. Hallway lights at ankle level can help, and nightlights are important for nighttime bathroom needs.
- Eliminate stairways.
While it can be difficult for some seniors to admit that they cannot live in their long-time homes any longer, moving to a one-level dwelling is a great option for getting rid of stairs. However, some individuals may be able to continue living in their own homes after moving all of their belongings down to the main floor.
- Focus on exercise.
Strengthening and mobility exercises can improve balance in seniors, helping them to become strong enough to lower their risk for falls. Yoga is particularly good for improving balance and strength, but many cardio exercises can help as well.