As the weather turns colder and we start to think of falling leaves and pumpkins and all the other things fall brings, we should also turn our attention to another kind of fall – specifically, the kind that can cause serious injuries to our aging loved ones. While we might not think of falling down as anything to worry about, falls can become very serious as we age and our bones lose density and become more likely to break – especially in older women, who are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. So if you’re living with an aging loved one and you’re worried about them falling and hurting themselves, here are some things you can do to fall-proof your home.
Get Rid of the Clutter
Anything you have lying around the floor that isn’t furniture needs to be cleaned up, especially when it comes to your hallway and any narrow spaces. If there are stacks of old newspapers and magazines lying around the floor, it’s time to clean those up. If you have a tendency to leave your shoes lying around, it’s time to break that bad habit and put your shoes somewhere out of the way any time you aren’t wearing them. The same goes for your slippers and any other clothing you might have a habit of leaving around.
Remove All Tripping Hazards
You might not think of area rugs as a tripping hazard, but it’s more common than you might think for seniors to trip on the edge of a rug and end up hitting the floor. So, if you have any area rugs, now is a good time to get rid of them for the sake of your loved one’s safety.
If you have hardwood floors, check to make sure there are no nails and/or floorboards that are out of alignment and sticking up out of the floor, because that’s also a tripping hazard and you’ll want to repair those ASAP.
Make Sure All Your Floors Are Nonstick
If you’re left with a bunch of hardwood and/or linoleum floors after removing all your rugs, those could potentially be slippery surfaces, which could lead to falls. You might want to consider wall-to-wall carpeting to replace those area rugs.
The bathroom is a particularly dangerous place for seniors, from the tile or linoleum floor with its potential to be slippery, to the bathmat creating a tripping hazard, and the bottom of the bathtub creating a slipping hazard. We recommend using a nonslip cover for the bottom of your bathtub and installing handrails next to the toilet and the bathtub so your loved one always has something to hang onto.
There are some things your loved one can do to make sure they’re less likely to fall, especially when it comes to their clothing, so if you can, try to make sure they wear shoes, even around the house, to reduce the chances they’ll slip and fall. And while we understand the temptation to use comfortable attire around the house, make sure it’s at least properly hemmed and not too loose (especially when it comes to their pants and skirts) to reduce the chances they’ll trip on their own clothing, causing a fall that could potentially be disastrous.
Get Professional Help
While fall proofing your home is an important step towards taking care of the older Americans in your life, it’s just one part of elder care, and you have other things in your life to worry about. If you find yourself unable to care for your aging loved one on your own, we’re here to help.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we strive to make every resident’s time here as comfortable and stress free as possible, regardless of their abilities. Reach out now to ask us how we keep our residents engaged through every stage of the aging process. Watch this video to get a sneak peak of our Memory Care Neighborhood!fa
The grandparents might give you a hard time about breaking a hip when they try certain activities, but it’s no laughing matter. Falls are the top cause for fractures in seniors in America, including hip fractures and other severe injuries, although women are more likely than men to suffer fractures from falling. But broken bones aren’t the only thing to worry about. Falls are also the #1 cause of traumatic brain injury, which in turn can lead to a further increased risk of both severe, and even fatal falls.
And it’s expensive to boot. In 2010 alone, roughly $30 billion were spent in direct medical costs on seniors who had been injured as a result of falling.
September is senior fall prevention & awareness month, but it’s something we should always be vigilant in monitoring. While falls are a serious concern for seniors, it is never inevitable that someone will fall. Here are some things you can do to help make sure the older loved ones in your life are less likely to suffer from a fall.
Encourage Them to Exercise Regularly
Balance and fitness go hand in hand, so it’s more important than ever for people to stay fit and active as they get older. General fitness is necessary, but there are also classes geared specifically towards helping seniors build and maintain balance. Encourage parents and grandparents to take these classes if at all possible.
While some bone deterioration may be inevitable as we age, there are ways to make sure we don’t lose any more than we need to. Strength and balance training are both essential, but diet is also key. We all need to make sure we’re getting a healthy dose of all our vitamins on a regular basis, especially calcium and vitamin K, which helps transport the calcium to our bones.
No matter what we do, we tend to lose some of our eyesight and hearing as we age. Make sure the seniors in your life are getting their eyes and ears checked regularly, as trouble seeing or hearing can result in serious falls. Other kinds of ear trouble can also impair their balance.
If you don’t live with your senior loved ones, be sure to visit them regularly and take note if they appear to be having trouble sitting down, standing up, or walking. If they always appear to be holding onto furniture or walls, talk to them about it and see what can be done to help them.
If they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, be sure to talk regularly with their caregivers about their fall risk and what measures are being taken to reduce that risk. If they’re taking any medications, be sure to stay informed about what those medications are and any potential side effects.
September is fall prevention & awareness month, but people fall all year round. Educate yourself, educate your loved ones, and make sure you have a system in place to help prevent falls.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.