Each year, millions of Americans aged 65+ are injured in trip and fall mishaps around the home. Broken bones, hip fractures, and head injuries are common, and some seniors lose their independence permanently as a result. Sadly, many of those in-home falls could have been avoided by taking simple precautions.
If your aging parents aren’t as agile as they used to be, protecting them against trip and fall hazards should be a priority. To help you get started, these are some of the biggest threats to look for around their home.
Why Are Older Adults Fall-Prone?
As the average person grows older, changes to their balance and coordination make falls more likely. Other reasons why seniors are more fall-prone include:
- Vision problems
- Body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Foot pain or poorly fitted footwear
- Use of certain medications
Cognitive changes caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s can also place a senior at higher risk for experiencing a serious fall.
In-Home Fall-Prevention Tips
Thankfully, most falls around the home are preventable. As a concerned family member here’s how to minimize trip and fall hazards:
Get their permission
For reasons like pride and privacy, many older adults don’t like others telling them what to do. Ask for your parents’ permission by sitting down and respectfully sharing your concerns. If you face resistance, discuss specific examples of fellow seniors who were recently injured by falls, and share some fall-related statistics. Once you have mom and dad’s approval, it’ll be time to roll up your sleeves and get started.
The average senior accumulates a lot of stuff over the years. But cluttered living spaces aren’t safe for those with limited mobility. Declutter your parents’ home while eliminating items they no longer want or need. Donate unwanted items that are still usable to a local charity or offer to help your parents hold a yard sale.
Remove throw rugs
Although they look nice, throw rugs have a tendency to slip and bunch up when walked on. In a home that’s occupied by someone with poor vision or compromised balance, it’s best not to use them at all. Go around your parents’ house and remove any dangerous throw rugs.
Safe proof the staircases
Because of their uneven surfaces, staircases can be very hazardous for older adults. Safe proof your loved ones’ stairs by installing handrails along both sides. If needed, improve the lighting above the stairs and place strips of reflective tape on the front of each step.
Secure any pets
Loose house pets can be dangerous for those with poor balance and coordination. Help your parents keep their dog or cat safely secured away from high traffic areas. Also encourage them to keep pet supplies out of frequently used living spaces like the kitchen, hallway, or bedroom.
Create clear walkways
Walkways are no place for extension cords, small furniture, and raised heating vents. Go room to room and eliminate obstacles that could pose a trip and fall threat. If the lighting in any of the walkways is too dim, brighten it up with some plug-in lights from the local hardware store.
Raise the toilet seat
As leg and core muscles grow weaker, a low toilet seat can also be a fall hazard. If that’s an issue for mom and dad, find them a raised toilet seat. While you’re at it, install sturdy grab bars next to the toilet and inside their shower or tub.
An Added Layer of Protection in Your Loved One’s Home
Protecting your elderly parents from trip and fall hazards isn’t easy when you’re busy or live far away. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, Colonial Home Care Services makes it easy for families to keep their aging loved ones safe- even with little notice in an emergency. At CHCS, we take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.
As a family-trusted home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, Colonial Home Care Services has been providing peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in our service area today, please visit us at www.colonialhomecareservices.com.