Senior falls happen all too frequently and many times lead to serious consequences. If you’re taking care of aging parents at home, fall prevention is key and can be helped by fall safety measures. This includes assessing the home for fall risks, such as throw rugs or other tripping hazards, insufficient lighting, and a lack of grab bars and railings. But there’s another strategy worth considering as well: developing a fall plan of care, which, when implemented properly, has been shown to reduce fall-related emergency room visits up to 40%.
So although we would never want to plan for a senior we love to experience a fall, we can be better prepared by helping the senior take the following steps:
- Stay vigilant – Try not to let your mind wander, and instead focus your full attention on your surroundings.
- Check vision – Routine eye exams and wearing eyeglasses when required can help in seeing and avoiding tripping hazards.
- Practice balance – Exercises as simple as picking one foot up off the ground and remaining balanced on the other foot for up to 30 seconds can be a great balance booster.
- If a fall does happen, knowing how to fall more safely can reduce the chance of injury. Specifically:
- Prevent head injuries by turning your face away from the fall or tucking your chin to your chest if falling backwards.
- Bend the knees and elbows to prevent the rigidity that can cause a break to the wrist or elbow when trying to catch your fall.
- Roll with the fall, which diffuses the impact of the fall over a greater portion of the body rather than concentrating it on one particular area.
- Try to land on fatty tissue, like your thighs or bottom, instead of on more bony surfaces like the hips, knees, and elbows.
- Using the following preventative measures can go a long way towards preventing a fall:
- Ensure that all walking paths inside and outside of the home are clear of clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords.
- Make sure that all floors, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, are clean and dry.
- Install grab bars near the tub and toilet.
- Be sure that handrails are in place and secured alongside all stairwells.
- Replace any worn carpeting and remove all loose rugs.
At CareFor, the leader in senior care in Georgetown and the surrounding areas, we’re experienced in making the home environment as safe from falls as possible. We are also available to help seniors stay motivated to engage in doctor-approved exercise programs to enhance stability, balance, and flexibility, resulting in improved health.