People of any age can be hurt in falls, but falling is certainly more of a concern for people age 65 and older, as this is the leading cause of injuries in this age group. Falling can result in painful bruises, broken bones, or even more serious injuries such as internal bleeding, brain damage, or death.
Falling can rattle the confidence of even the most independent seniors. Even falls that don’t result in injuries can create anxiety about the possibility of falling again.
Ways to Prevent Falling at Home
Below are some preventative measures seniors their families, and senior caregivers can take to reduce the risk of falling while at home.
Stay physically active
Maintain a regular exercise routine that focuses on improving balance and flexibility. Activities such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or other gentle exercises can improve reflex speed and agility. Another benefit of physical fitness is an increase in bone density, which protects them against fractures and breaks in case of a fall.
Keep your home clutter-free
Make sure your home is cleaned regularly to avoid clutter and trash from building up. A messy home is full of potential trip hazards. When things are in their proper place, it is much less likely that you’ll encounter unexpected obstacles in your path which could cause you to trip and fall.
Get your eyesight and hearing checked regularly
Staying up to date on your vision and hearing tests can make sure that you’re aware of potential obstacles in your home. Make sure you can hear your loved ones or senior caregiver by wearing hearing aids when needed. Keep your eyeglasses prescription current to make sure you can see your surroundings clearly. Your eyes and ears give you valuable information to keep you safe while going about your day.
Install handrails and grip bars
All staircases in your home should have handrails that can help support your weight when using stairs becomes necessary. You can have high-quality grip bars installed in your shower and next to your toilet.
Add adequate lighting
Add brighter lightbulbs or additional lighting fixtures to safely illuminate your home. This is particularly important in stairwells and hallways, which are typically darker than the rest of the home. Make wayfinding at night safer by using night lights in the bedroom and bathroom.
If you live in a multi-level home, it is a good idea to live on one level when possible. A relative or senior caregiver can help you move furniture and personal items if you decide to consolidate your living space onto a single floor.
Know the side effects
Many types of medication, especially those designed to thin the blood and manage pain, can cause dizziness and light-headedness. Read the instructions carefully and tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking so they can be sure to avoid drug combinations that may be dangerous.
Alcohol can blur the vision, cause dizziness, affect balance, and slow the reaction time, all of which increase the risk for dangerous falls. It can also interact with prescribed medications, so be sure to know the effects of consuming alcohol while taking medications. When in doubt, opt for a non-alcoholic beverage to be safe.
Wear sensible shoes
Low-heeled, non-skid shoes with a rubber sole are the best choice for wearing around the house. Socks are slippery, as are hard-bottomed shoes and high heels.
Get up slowly
When standing up from a seated position, or beginning to walk from a standing position, do so slowly and deliberately. Changing position can cause lightheadedness, so give yourself time to adapt and ease in to the new situation.
If you or a loved one are in need of professional, personable home-based senior caregiver services in the Lafayette, LA, area, contact Home Instead at (337) 282-2350. Our compassionate and friendly home CAREGivers are trained in all facets of senior care, from meal preparation to bathing, to allow you or a senior loved one to remain in their home.