Each year, millions of older people, those 65 and older, have falls. In fact, more than one out of four older people fall each year. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again. It is important to look at the reasons falls occur because many falls can be prevented. There are three risk factors that can help us identify the cause of falls.
It is of paramount importance to keep walkways clear and free of clutter. Here is a list of items to review in your home that can decrease the risk of falling.
- Remove lamps, and cords out of the flow of traffic
- Use double-sided tape on all small rugs to ensure they stay in place
- Remove any non-essential rugs
- Be aware of flooring transitions or ripped carpet in the home
- Make sure handrails in good working order are present next to the stairs
- Ensure lighting is bright enough to see stairs and flooring transitions
- Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare
- Paint the top edge of steps a contrasting color for better visibility
- Add grab bars to shower and toilet areas
- Add non-skid mats or abrasive strips to the shower/bathtub
- Ensure lamps and phones are accessible in the bedroom
There are many health conditions that can increase the risk of falls. Here are a few examples that can impact safety.
- Get regular vision checks – poor vision can lead to falls
- Wear shoes both inside and outside. Avoid house shoes or less stable shoes. It is important that shoes fit well and have proper traction.
- Stand up slowly as blood pressure changes can result in falls due to dizziness
- Be aware of foot pain
- Be careful of a possible vitamin D deficiency
- Use all equipment that has been ordered (cane, walker or wheelchair, for example)
- Be aware of any lower body weakness
- Always take medications as prescribed
- Remember that those recently discharged from the hospital or rehab facility are at a higher risk of falling
Communication with healthcare providers and pharmacists is important. Your doctor or healthcare provider can help evaluate fall risks and make appropriate referrals to home health services if assisted devices or strengthening may benefit you.
The CDC reports that over 3 million older people are treated in the Emergency Rooms each year for injuries resulting from falls. Many of these falls can be avoided. Blue Water Homecare is a locally owned and operated home care agency serving Central Texas. We strive daily to help seniors age in place in a safe environment. We offer complimentary home safety evaluations with every in-home client assessment.