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Six Ways to Prevent Falls Among Seniors
Falls are a leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors – so prepare your home to prevent these debilitating accidents
The Center for Disease Control reports that one in three adults aged 65 or over suffers a fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of death among those in the 65+ age bracket. Many of these dangerous spills could have been prevented by following some simple guidelines. Here are five key steps to take to ensure that your senior’s steps are safe!
- Unclutter your home or the elderly’s home — Simply remove low furnishings, keep the floors clean and uncluttered, and refrain from placing anything on staircases or near staircase landings. Tripping over errant objects causes thousands of falls each year in the US – leading to significant injuries among seniors.
- Inspect carpet and stair runners — While they look great and can beautifully accent the décor of a room - carpet, rugs, and stair runners are a potential danger to seniors. Loose or frayed carpet edges can catch shoes and cause spills – the same goes for area rugs and accent pieces. Improperly secured stair runners deliver a double dose of danger due to their location on the staircase. Stairs are already dangerous for many seniors to navigate, and a loose runner can cause a fall from an elevated position.
- Exercise— Regular exercise can help seniors improve their balance, coordination, muscle strength, and bone density. This all adds up to better body control and a diminished risk of falling due to weakness or lack of coordination. It is best to consult a physician prior to starting any exercise routine, but don’t wait too long – better health and wellness, as well as resistance to falling, can be right around the corner.
- Wear the right shoes — Shoes that fit properly are vital to ensuring good traction, stability of the feet and lower legs, and comfort for the wearer. Shoes can overcome slippery staircases or carpeted rooms, can prevent falls due to injuries sustained on sharp or jagged surfaces, and provide additional lateral foot stability versus wearing nothing at all. It is also important to recognize that sandals, slip-on shoes, clogs, and other loose-fitting footwear designs can contribute to falls due to their less stable designs.
- Add handrails to the home — With so much potential for falling due to slippery floors, bathrooms and kitchens are two key locations for handrails in the home. While the bathroom is an obvious place, handrails can be added anywhere the senior finds him or herself constantly straining to stand up.
- Invest in a medical alert device — While medical alert devices do not prevent falls, they can be a great tool to ensure that when a fall occurs the user can get the help they need fast. Look to invest in one that works inside and outside the home for better piece of mind.
Preventing falls in the elderly is crucial. With so many aging individuals suffering needlessly due to poorly managed homes, obvious trip hazards, poorly fitting shoes, and lack of handrails in the home, the time to fix this problem is now. While not all falls can be prevented, the injuries from falls can be minimized through proper planning and a conscientious approach to home management.