People often dismiss falls as a result of clumsiness or a natural part of getting older. While this may be true in some cases, it may also be a sign that something isn’t right with your health.
Falling can have far more devastating consequences for seniors than younger people. The chances of falling increase as our body ages, which makes it necessary to implement preventive measures and follow best practices to reduce these incidents from taking place.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing why older people tend to be more prone to falling and how we can make our homes more senior-friendly.
Why Older People Have a Higher Risk of Falling
Several risk factors affect older people that may cause a fall, such as the following:
- Impaired vision
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance
- Side-effects of certain medications
- Lower bone density
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Less feeling in lower extremities
- Slower reaction times
Does this mean that nothing can be done to prevent elderly people from falling? Of course not. In fact, seniors should work towards a life that’s free of falls.
If you are living with a senior in your home, it is highly recommended that you know basic first aid in the event of a fall. Consider searching for the best first aid courses Gold Coast has to offer so you are better prepared for emergencies.
How to Reduce Falls at Home
There are specific things that can be done to increase a home’s safety and avoid falls. Below, we’re sharing some of these tips, which apply not just to seniors but to everyone who wants to minimise falling hazards at home:
1. Consider installing assistive devices.
Handrails and grab bars are convenient safety devices that can help with going up and down stairs, stepping in and out of bathtubs, or getting on and off toilets. Bathroom floors can be extremely dangerous when wet so it’s ideal to have grab bars, especially near the shower to reduce the risks of injuries from slipping.
2. Remove tripping hazards like clutter.
One of the easiest ways to prevent falls is to keep your home clean and tidy. Remove all loose wires and cords, and make sure the rugs are safely anchored. Furthermore, consider arranging or removing some furniture to provide more room for walking. Floor damages can also cause trips and falls, so have them repaired as soon as possible.
3. Wear proper footwear and clothing.
Wearing baggy clothes and pants or dresses that drag on the ground can present a major risk. They can easily get snagged by furniture and home fixtures such as door handles. You might also consider wearing properly-fitting footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan since they can help with balance, reduce joint pain, and make you less prone to slipping.
4. Provide sufficient lighting around the home.
Inadequate lighting can be a significant risk factor, especially for older people who require more light to see. Make sure to install bright light bulbs in common living areas that are easy enough to replace in case they go out. Hallways and at the bottom of stairways should always be well-lit. Also, in case of a power outage, always know where the candles and flashlights are.
5. Limit your movement to one level of the house.
Stairways can be a major risk factor even if you’ve installed guardrails and handrails. Considering an entirely different type of home might be too much for you, so we advise to at least limit the number of trips you take up and down those stairs.
6. Move more carefully.
Many people fall at home as a result of being in a hurry while moving from one room to another, or simply moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Keep in mind that it’s better to move slowly yet surely, especially if the goal is to increase home safety.
Fall-Prevention Plans Can Be Effective
Following the tips above can help you increase the safety of your home, not just for seniors, but for kids and individuals with mobility problems, as well. Having a solid fall-prevention plan may require money and effort to implement, but it’s one of the best investments you can make for keeping your loved ones safe.