Falling can be a huge risk for the elderly: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three older adults falls each year, and nearly 2 million go the hospital for fall-related injuries. Reducing the risk of falling can help older adults stay independent and healthy for a longer period of time. Luckily, preventing falls in the elderly is easy with just a few simple changes!
Getting rid of clutter is the number one step to prevent a fall at home. If you needed an excuse to do some cleaning, remember that piles of books, newspapers, and clothes are a big tripping hazard. Spend a weekend afternoon sorting through everything piled on the floor; throw away old or outdated documents, fold clothes and move them into a closet, and organize books and magazines on shelves and coffee tables. For more on cleaning up problem areas, check out our post on fixing clutter zones.
Install grab bars
Put grab bars and handrails in the bathroom to make those slippery surfaces safer for seniors. There are lots of devices that are easy to install and will make a big difference. An elevated toilet seat with handles makes sitting down and getting up much easier. Grab bars are cheap and help prevent slips in the shower or bath. Safety tub rails and bath stools help with getting in and out of the tub. All these small changes will go a long way towards preventing falls in the bathroom.
As seniors get older, it becomes harder to see in the dark. Adding more light to a home will help reduce the risk of tripping. Put a lamp by the bed for easy access at night, and use nightlights in the hallway and bathroom. If you use a cane or a walker, switch it out at night for a light-up cane to make walking around dark hallways even easier. And again, clean up any hallway clutter so that hallways are easy to navigate, even in dim lighting!
Get some exercise
Gentle and easy activities like walking help build up weak leg muscles, which goes a long way in preventing falls in the elderly. Taking walks around the neighborhood with friends or family can be fun and help build up strength, so a fall at home is less likely. Start small with just a walk around the block, and feel free to use tools like canes to help with balance.
Wear sensible shoes
Slippers might be comfortable, but they also can be slippery. Instead, wear shoes with low heels and non-stick soles to stay firmly on two feet! Comfortable walking shoes should be well-cushioned and have arch support to keep feet healthy. Shoes can make a big difference in preventing falls in the elderly, so take some time to pick out a pair of comfortable and stable shoes!
These simple changes can make a big difference in preventing falls at home. By lessening the risk of falling, older adults can stay independent, healthy, and happy for a long time!