Try these simple home adaptations to prevent a senior fall for someone you love.
When a younger person falls, their biggest concern may be embarrassment. It’s often a matter of just picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and going on with your day. However, for older adults, falls can be devastating. Bones are more fragile and can break easily, leading to serious injuries such as a fractured knee or hip, requiring months of recovery. Knowing how to prevent a senior fall is crucial for anyone caring for an older loved one.
How Can You Prevent Senior Falls?
Preventing a fall begins with assessing the home environment and making modifications to remove or reduce any fall risks. Here are some of the key recommendations our home care experts suggest to improve safety in a senior’s home:
Start with the floors. Look down and assess the floors in each room of the person’s home and see if the following are in place or need to be addressed.
- There should be no throw rugs on any floor space, unless they are securely adhered to the floor with non-slip tape.
- Carpeting should be low and thin. Thick carpeting is much more difficult to walk across, especially with a cane or walker.
- Floor polish should never be used on hardwood or tile floors.
- Look into slip-proof tile flooring options for added safety.
- Floor coloring should contrast with baseboards and furniture.
Check lighting. Next, make sure each area the person utilizes has plenty of light, particularly in the evening when a trip to the bathroom or kitchen can be especially hazardous.
- Replace all light bulbs regularly – before they burn out – both indoors and outdoors.
- In areas of the home that do not have adequate lighting, add nightlights or motion detector lights to improve visibility.
- Be sure that all electrical cords are safely tucked away and are not in the way of walking paths.
Assess the restroom. Bathrooms are a leading location for senior falls. With harder, often wet surfaces, falls in the bathroom or shower can be extremely dangerous.
- Make sure there are grab bars placed strategically around the toilet and bathtub or shower, and that they are sturdy enough to support the full body weight of an adult.
- Add a raised, padded toilet seat, as well as a padded shower chair in the tub.
- Place slip-proof strips or mats both inside and around the shower or tub.
- Consider a hand-held, portable shower head and wall-mounted soap dispenser.
In addition to these modifications, you may want to explore the following, especially for an older adult with dementia.
- Monitoring products: Using sensors, monitoring systems placed throughout the home will detect movement and/or allow the senior to call for help in the event of a fall or any other emergency.
- Alarms: Door alarms are helpful if a senior with cognitive difficulties has a tendency to wander, which can lead to a fall or even to the person becoming lost.
- Bedrails: Bedrails provide a dual purpose; they offer the senior something to hold onto while getting into and out of bed, and they help keep the person from falling out of bed.
- Fall-prevention socks: With rubber grips on the bottom, these slip-resistant socks are waterproof and can even be worn in the shower.
At Home Matters Caregiving, our caregivers are skilled and experienced in maximizing safety for seniors with award-winning home care. Want us to help prevent a senior fall for someone you love? Call us and request a free in-home consultation to learn more about our customized in-home care services for seniors!