Falls are a serious public health problem among older adults. In the United States, one of every three seniors over 65 years fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors 65 and over.
Simply making changes to the home does not reduce falls. However, certain risk factors in
the home environment may contribute to about half of all home falls. Homes that were perfectly convenient one year can cause problems in later years.
At Regency Nursing Centers, we take fall risks very seriously and in fact, I have put together a short checklist that we believe will help with senior, whether they are living at home, or in a healthcare facility.
- Install lights in the hallways. It should never be too dark to get from the bedroom to the bathroom
- If you reply on something like a towel rack in the bathroom for proper balance, tat’s not a good idea, as it isn’t built for that and may not support your weight. Proper hand and guard rails should be installed.
- Place a non slip shower mat in the bath and make sure floors are not slippery. If necessary, install non-skid strips, or a non-skid mat.
- If it is too difficult for you to stand for a long period in the shower, place a shower chair inside.
- Try to keep soap and shampoo situated in a place so that you needn’t turn around in the shower (which is a relatively small and confined space) to grab hold of your soap bar.
- If it is too difficult to get on and off the toilet, consider raising the seat and/or installing a handrail
- Keep things you often use on lower shelves. Do not place heavy items on higher cupboard shelves. In general, make sure that the items you use daily, are easily accessible to you within their respective shelves and cupboards. Be smart about how and where you place your items used for daily living.
- Use a proper stepping stool. It should not be rickety and it should preferably have a hand rail.
- Sweep your floors and make sure they are clean.
- Make sure there isn’t a long reach from the bed to a light source or a telephone.
- Make sure your telephone cord doesn’t present as a tripping hazard.
- Keep a remote control handy for your television.
- Do not have cluttered bedrooms
- Make sure your eyeglasses are always within easy reach.
- Consider placing a comfortable commode near the bed, if you are making frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.
- Furniture should be ideally placed and arranged so that you don’t have to walk in circles to get around them in your common (walking) areas.
- Rugs and carpets should not be frayed or curled up.
- Chairs, couches and seats should preferably be low to the ground and not too high
- Stairs should ALWAYS be free of clutter.
- Try to avoid wearing smooth-soled slippers on the steps.
- Stairway should be strong and not broken anywhere
- Keep a light on over the stairwell
- Hand rails should be strong and maintained
- Path between the garage and the door should be even and well lit
- have your hearing regularly tested
- Make sure your glasses are of the appropriate prescription strength
One final thought:
You know, proper safety for seniors to prevent falls, isn’t only relegated to seniors who are ambulatory and walk.
Non-ambulatory seniors who use wheelchairs need to be protected from falls too.
In fact, one of the most heavily trafficked blogs I ever wrote, was this article I published on our blog back April of 2012!
I mentioned Dycem as an intervention for falls from wheelchairs (it is a product we use).
Since that time, this article has received MANY THOUSANDS of unique visitors! This tells me how important this information is. (I’m sure the Dycem company has received a ton of business from our blog..hey, perhaps we should charge them a commission!)
In fact, don’t take my word for it, but try it yourself.
Do a Google search using the following keywords below (or any similar permutation of keywords). Actually, I’ve made it easy for you, as I did the search and the link itself will lead you to the search and results.
We are page 1 on Google for my 2012 article!
So yes, this is an important topic and I do hope the checklist above, which I have compiled, will be helpful and beneficial to you.
Now go take on the day!