8 Simple Ways to Reduce the Chances of a Senior Falling in Their Home

Advice For Seniors

big senior house front view during daylight

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According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 or older has a fall each year. 1 out of 5 of these incidents results in serious harm being caused (broken bones, head injury, etc.). As we age, our bones lose calcium and other essential minerals, causing them to become frail and more likely to break. The same goes for muscles, which, starting at about age 50, begin to lose their mass, making them less reliable to depend on for maintaining balance.

How do you reduce the likelihood of a senior having a fall at home? A few examples include clearing the area of tripping hazards, installing assist bars, and ensuring there’s proper lighting. By making a few small changes, you drastically lower the chances an accident will occur.

Let’s now review 8 simple ways to prevent seniors from falling while at home.

1. Clear the Clutter

Reducing any clutter around the house is one of the easiest ways to lessen the chances of a fall occurring. Things like exposed cords, clothing, blankets, boxes, and stacks of newspapers are all great examples. Especially in high-traffic areas such as hallways or near stairways. Maintaining an organized home that’s free from clutter also provides certain health benefits. Such as reduced stress and increased happiness levels.

You should also take note of any problem areas due to a lack of home maintenance. Some of these include loose floorboards, exposed carpet, or cracked walkways.

 

2. Install Assist Bars Around the House

Assist bars (also known as grab bars or assist rails) are safety devices meant to aid seniors (or those with physical handicaps). By having an alternate grip-point, certain activities are made much more accessible. Some of these include:  getting in/out of the bathtub, traversing stairs, or getting on/off the toilet. They also provide a shifted center of gravity, so that if a fall does occur, the impact is lessened.

Assist bars are usually attached by screwing them into a stud. Though certain manufactures also make suction models that work great in areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms, securely attaching them to a wall is always best..

 

3. Ensure There’s Adequate Lighting

Clearly, if you can’t see well, the chances of someone having a fall is much higher. For this reason, ensuring the home is well-lit is one of the most effective ways of making it a safer space for elderly residents. Poor lighting around the house also interferes with melatonin production. This negatively affects things like sleep, memory, depression, mood, and appetite. So not only will a well-lit room make it easier to see, but it will help with alertness and clarity as well.

You might also consider installing motion light switches, as well as night lights for wall sockets. These make the home more accessible for things like midnight snacks or trips to the bathroom.

 

4. Put Health First

Taking proper care of our bodies is a fantastic way to lessen the chances of a fall. Not only will this help with things like clarity and alertness, but also with injury recovery. Taking vitamins like B, D3, C, as well as supplements such as Magnesium, Calcium, and Omega 3 are all proven to help the body both mentally and physically.

Note: Never take any new supplements or vitamins without talking to your doctor first.

Sleep is also crucial since not getting enough will result in feeling drowsy, which increases the chances of a fall occurring. Another thing to consider is daily stretches, which improves flexibility and range of motion in seniors as well as younger adults. This means that should an accident occur, it’s less likely to cause severe damage.

 

5. Reconsider Certain Medications

Certain medications (both over-the-counter and prescribed) can have dizzying effects. This may make it hard for a senior to maintain balance, which increases the chances of a severe fall or accident. These include sedatives (Valium, Xanax, Clonazepam) and Antihistamines (Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin). As well as Opioids (Vicodin, Codeine). There are also drug interactions to consider, which may increase these side-effects.

Note: Never make changes concerning medications without speaking with the prescribing doctor first.

 

6. Consult an Optometrist

Clearly, one of the best ways to prevent seniors from falling is to ensure their vision is adequate. By age 65, around 1 in 3 seniors suffer from some form of a sight-related disease. Some of these include macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma. Lasik eye surgery prices have dropped a lot since they first arrived. Though it is considered elective surgery, so it is not covered by most insurance providers.

You can also take certain supplements to aid in eye health, including vitamins A, E, C, B6, B9, B12, as well as Niacin, Riboflavin, and Lutein.

Note: 1. New glasses combined with certain medications may affect depth perception. Be sure to consult with an Optometrist before making any changes. 2. Never take any new supplements or vitamins without talking to your doctor first.

 

7. Utilize a Medical Alert System

Medical alert systems are excellent for seniors that live alone. They usually come in the form of a wearable device such as a wrist band, pendant, or necklace. Seniors need only press a button should they have an accident while alone. These typically are connected to a 24/7 service that will aid in assisting them in the event of an emergency.

There is a monthly cost for such a service, typically ranging from $19.95 to $89.95, depending on features. Insurance plans change frequently, so be sure to inquire whether they might cover a medical alert system, although most do not.

 

8. Make Traction a Priority

Some areas of homes are more prone to falls than others, such as the front porch, walkway, bathroom, stairs, or kitchen. A simple way to make these areas safer is to wear non-slip socks, slippers, or shoes. You can also add things like bath mats, rugs, or non-slip mats to aid with traction.

Be sure to regularly sprinkle ice-melt on porches and walkways if you live somewhere that sees a lot of ice and snow too.

 

Take the Proper Steps Now to Avoid a Potential Accident

More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year due to falls. Why risk it? Instead, take the proper steps today to make the environment seniors spend their time in is as safe as possible.