In the United States, around 10% of all falls in older adults cause severe injuries. Shockingly, less than half of the adults who fall report their fall to their doctor.
Several factors increase the risk of a fall. Here are some of the most common reasons that lead to falls.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Wear and tear on the joints occurs as you age. Regular exercise, losing weight, and a healthy diet helps, but it’s not a guarantee that arthritis pain will never happen.
If your mom and dad have arthritis, the pain can make it hard to stand up or walk around without experiencing twinges of pain. Sometimes, the pain is severe enough that it can make you stumble or fall.
Lack of Bathroom Safety Features
The bathroom is one of the areas in the home where the fall risk increases. Flooring gets wet after a bath or shower and becomes slippery. Water, soap, and conditioners also make shower or tub floors slick.
If mobility is not where it used to be, sitting down on or standing up from the toilet is another issue. Your parents could lose their balance. These are why you need to install grab bars inside and outside the bathing area and near the toilet.
Medication Side Effects
Some medications have side effects that increase the fall risk. Dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and lightheadedness are the side effects to watch for. If they take medications that increase the fall risk, it’s essential to have someone with them for a couple of hours after taking their pills.
Your parents often wake up in the middle of the night and need to go to the bathroom. If their sleeping areas and bathrooms are not on the same floor, walking down the stairs in the dark is dangerous and can lead to a fall. Coming into a home at night or walking around rooms that aren’t well lit also increases the fall risk.
Slippery or Uneven Surfaces
Finally, wood, laminate, tile, and linoleum flooring are all slippery. If your parents are used to walking around the home in socks, they increase their fall risk on slick flooring. Uneven flooring is another risk. They could catch a toe on a raised trim separating the carpeting from the wood floor and fall.
Loose throw rugs are also a problem. If you have a decorative rug on the wood floor, it could slip when you step on it. It’s best to get rid of decorative carpeting or make sure it has rubberized backing.
Don’t have your parents risk their safety to try to do things around the house when it’s too difficult. If you aren’t close by and only see them a few times a year, senior care is vital for aging at home.
Instead of trying to climb a ladder to change a lightbulb, your parents can have caregivers to help them with homemaking tasks like dusting ceiling fan blades, changing bulbs, and inspecting the home for fall hazards.
Caregivers can also drive them to the store, help them shop for groceries, and cook meals. Call a senior care agency to learn more about these and other services.