Jun 24, 2022
A Guide to Fall Prevention for the Elderly
Falls are the leading cause of injury and death from injury among people 65 years and older. Falls typically result in fractures, head injuries, sprains, back injuries, nerve damage and spinal cord damage.
Elderly falls also have a major impact on family caregivers. It is important to learn how to prevent elderly falls to protect yourself, your family member or loved one and your finances.
Common Causes of Falls
Many seniors suffer from falls. Some falls are the result of health issues such as poor balance or vision problems, while others are caused by home safety hazards like slippery floors, loose carpeting and uneven steps
Common Risk Factors for Falls
You can help prevent falls by taking action at home and by recognizing the warning signs that your loved one may be at risk for a fall.
Common risk factors for falls at home include:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Poor coordination or balance
- Weakness in the muscles that help you stand up (legs, back, arms)
- Vision problems, including cataracts and glaucoma
- Hearing loss
Taking Action to Prevent Falls
Ways to Prevent Falls at Home:
Make sure your loved one has a safe place to walk around in their home. This includes removing throw rugs or any other tripping hazards from the floor. Make sure there is enough lighting in the room so that your loved one can see where they are going clearly. Make sure there are no loose cords or wires on the floor that could catch on their feet while they walk around in their home.
Have them remove any clutter from the floor so that they don't trip over anything while walking around in their home. It's also important that all furniture fits into its designated area properly so that there aren't any gaps between pieces of furniture or space between chairs and tables where someone could trip over something while walking around in their home.
Encourage them to wear shoes with good traction when walking around in
Home Safety Checklist for Fall Prevention
By taking some simple steps, you can keep your loved one safe.
Home Safety Checklist
1. Make sure your senior has a walker or cane that fits properly.
2. Keep rugs away from stairs and replace throw rugs with hardwood floors where possible.
3. A rubber mat at the foot of the bed can help reduce injury if your loved one falls out of bed during the night.
4. Install grab bars in the bathroom near showers, tubs and toilets and along walls for support when getting up from a chair or toilet.
5. Make sure there are no electrical cords near walkways or in front of windows where someone could trip over them — especially if they're loose or frayed!
With some simple precautions for fall prevention, you can help your elderly loved one avoid falling.
In the end, it all boils down to simply taking the time to recognize signs of unusual behavior, and intervening before it's too late. Even with a little preparation, though, you can never predict what might happen, nor when an accident might occur. So while it's still important to take precautions today, always keep in mind that even the best-laid plans may not be enough to guarantee your safety. Be prepared for anything, and always keep your guard up (and if you need more ideas on how to do that, check out our recent blog post on designing home alert systems of all shapes and sizes). If there's one thing we hope you've taken away from this post, it's that prevention is far better than cure—don't let nostalgia or hubris tempt you into thinking that things will always go smoothly, because they won't.