Of all the health risks that seniors and elderly face, falling is the most common one. Slips and falls are the main cause of fractures and injuries for the 65 or older age group. For this reason, seniors and caregivers should apply some effective fall prevention measures. In this post we will provide some tips and recommendations that have proven to be very useful in preventing falls:
- Lighting – All the rooms in the house should have proper lighting. Bad eyesight is one of the more common reasons seniors and elderly fall. One must make sure that the seniors can easily reach the light switches. Also, make sure that flashlights are within the senior’s reach and can easily be carried around.
- Stairways - Make sure that all stairway have sturdy handrails, and that the elderly can have a firm grip. In general, it is recommended to provide seniors and elderly with a room that is situated downstairs to save them the trouble of climbing stairs.
- Carpets - Loose carpets should be either removed or securely fasten to the floor. In addition, make sure that all carpets have non-slip backing and no threads hanging. It is recommended to remove carpets altogether or to place them in an area where the elderly members of the family will not walk on.
- Floors – In case of a slippery floor (e.g. marble, smooth tiled) it may be recommended to opt for wall to wall carpeting or deploy slip rubber mats.
- Shoes/Slippers – Use non-slip and adequately fitting shoes for your loved ones to prevent falls resulting from slippery floor.
- Mobility devices – Mobility devices like walkers are highly recommended to provide support for the seniors and elderly when they are doing their daily chores. Walkers with wheels are designed for the elderly who have less strength in their arms as they are operated by pushing only, instead of being lifted.
- Bathroom – As most falls at home occurs in the bathroom, making it safe for the elderly is quite important. The bathroom may require some remodeling or changes especially for people using them in conjunction with other mobility aids like canes, walkers or wheelchairs:
- Tubs/walk-in shower – Replace the tub and/or walk-in shower with no steps models and place non-slip rubber mats to provide traction. Make sure that the mats are in contrasting colors so that they can be easily seen.
- Soaps and Oils – Residues of bath oils, oil-based soaps, moisturizers and cold creams are also one of the reasons seniors slip as they get out from the tub or shower.
- Appliances -Bathroom appliances such as hair dryers, electric toothbrushes and electric razors should be kept away from water due to the risk of electrocution. They must also be removed from the path of elderly members to prevent tripping on the wires or on the appliances itself.
- Making Space – Remove items such as baskets, small furniture and free standing items (e.g. lamps) in order to make the space wider for maneuvering.
For different reasons, not all of these recommendations can be implemented, at full or all the time due to required financing, restrictions on place of residence (e.g. renting), multiple locations (e.g. different family members). When creating a care plan it is important to identify the places and activities that pose an increased risk of slipping or falling and make sure that the caregiver is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of the senior.
As part of its customer onboarding process, Carefect Homecare services performs a free in-home assessment to identify these exact risks, highlight them in its care plan and provide recommendations on how these risks can be reduced by the caregiver. When a caregiver is assigned to the case, Carefect makes sure it has the appropriate training and is equipped with all the required information to execute the care plan as agreed upon and making sure the seniors are living safely and independently while continuing their daily routine.