7 Ways To Prevent Falls At Home

September 16th, 2016 No Comments

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September 22nd is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries of people age 65 and older. One in three adults experiences a fall each year and over 700,000 are hospitalized for injuries sustained during a fall.  Even if a fall doesn’t result in a major injury—such as a hip fracture, broken bone, or head injury—a fall can often leave seniors more fearful of falling or even depressed, making it more difficult for them to stay physically active and remain independent.

If your aging parents or loved ones are high fall risks, helping reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them maintain independence, and most importantly, to stay healthy.

Although falls are serious, the good news is that they can be prevented. Below are seven steps that seniors can take to reduce their risk of falling while at home.

7 Ways to Prevent Falls

  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing. Although you want to be comfortable at home, wearing baggy clothing can sometimes make you more likely to fall. Wearing clothing that’s properly hemmed and that doesn’t bunch or drag on the ground can keep you from tripping.
  • Brighten up your home. Having poorly lit areas in your home is a major hazard. To increase the lighting in your home, install bright light bulbs where needed, especially at the top and bottom of staircases.
  • Wear shoes when at home. Wearing socks or going barefoot may be comfortable at home but can present an increased risk of slipping. Preventing a fall at home can be as simple as wearing shoes. If you really want to wear socks, consider wearing non-slip socks that have grips on the soles.
  • Remove or repair any walkway hazards. Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls. While doing a walkthrough of your home, examine each room and hallway, looking for any loose carpeting, slippery throw rugs or floorboards that stick up, and decide rather you want to repair or remove those items.
  • Install handrails and grab bars where needed. Use of safety devices is critical for going up and down the stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub/shower, and getting up on and off the toilet without injury. Consider installing a second handrail along staircases and a grab bar near the toilet and in the bathtub. You should also check that all current handrails are secure.
  • Make slick surfaces non-slip. Use non-slip mats in bathtubs, showers, and kitchens to reduce the risk of falling. These surfaces and areas can become extremely dangerous when wet.
  • Slow down. Many people fall just by moving too quickly. Slow down and take your time when moving from a sitting to a standing position to ensure you have your balance before walking and going up or down stairs.

For aging adults, reducing the risk of falls also means reducing the risk of injury. Along with taking these seven steps towards preventing falls at home, ask seniors about their health and how they are feeling about their potential to fall.

It’s also important to discuss and review any medications with your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Some medications can cause dizziness, and if you’re experiencing this at any time, see your doctor for a medication review. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to check that your prescription is up to date.

If you have an aging parent or senior who has experienced a fall, or needs help completing daily activities while remaining independent in their own home, contact Visiting Angels. Our Angels provide professional, individualized, non-medical, in-home care to older adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.


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