One of the most common worries for seniors is injury due to a fall. Many factors can contribute to this, things like medical conditions and even medications. This can be especially worrisome for someone living alone. While you should always see your doctor if you are worried about health changes, here are some tips to help reduce the risk of falling for seniors.
7 Tips to Risk Falling for Seniors
- Share with your doctor at your appointments
- Medications- Have a list of all of your medications written down. Your list should include any over the counter medications, supplements, and vitamins.
- Previous falls- If you have fallen before, try to remember all of the details like when and where it happened, and how you fell. This should include any times when you almost fell, but you or someone else was able to catch you in time.
- Health conditions- Certain conditions may increase your fall risk. Let your doctor know if you feel dizzy, are short of breath, have joint pain, or numbness in your feet or legs when you walk.
Your doctor may want to observe your gait, and may refer you to an occupational therapist who can make a customized plan for you to help prevent falls.
- Appropriate Exercise
Talk to your doctor about what physical activity is recommended for you. Activities like water workouts, walking, or tai chi are all good for building strength and improving flexibility.
- Safe Footwear
Something as simple as changing your footwear can greatly improve your stability. Choose sturdy shoes with nonskid soles over high heels, flapping sandals or slippers, or shoes that have slick soles. Having the right shoes can even help decrease joint pain. Do not wear only socks in the house, as they may cause you to slip.
- Remove items that put you at risk of falling
- Cords, boxes, magazines and newspapers in walkways should be removed.
- Low tables, plant stands, and such in high-traffic areas should also be removed.
- Either remove throw rugs or secure them with double-faced tape or non-slip backing.
- Spills should be cleaned up right away.
Food, dishes, medications, and other necessities should be stored within reach.
- Adequate Lighting
- It’s a good idea to have night lights in your hallways, bathroom, and bedroom in addition to a bedside lamp.
- If your light switches are not near the doorway, you should make sure that there is a clear pathway to them. You may want to replace existing light switches with illuminated ones.
- Turn on the stairway light before going up or down the stairs. o Have flashlights in a designated spot so that you know where to find them in case the lights go out.
- Safety Devices
- If your doctor recommends a cane or walker, don’t be too proud to use it.
- Nonslip treads on wooden steps and handrails on both sides of the stairway are helpful.
- Having a raised toilet, possibly with armrests, can help make it easier to use unaided.
- Grab bars in the tub or shower can help keep you safer. You may also want to have a bath seat and a hand-held shower nozzle.
- Non-slip decals or mats should be used in the shower or tub. You might even need to consider a bath seat.
- Consider acquiring a personal emergency alert device that will enable emergency personnel to respond more quickly in case you do fall.
Most solutions to help reduce the risk of falling for seniors are easy to implement, and cost little or no money. But if you need help with safety modifications for your home, you may want to hire a professional. If cost is an issue, a reverse mortgage may be a solution. Remember, investing in your health and well-being is worth it.
> More about making your home safe for seniors.
Call A Peaceful Way Home Care for a free in-home safety and care assessment at (310) 377-3776 or click here to contact us.