I am a caregiver and that is what I am mostly concerned about.
We are declaring war on falls, this fall.
Home Safety Makeover: Tips for Preventing Falls
Prevent falls and tripping hazards by assessing your home for dangers and equipping it with safety tools.
Fall Prevention Awareness Week was Sept. 19 through 25, and it’s a great time to remind everyone that 40 percent of nursing home admissions are due to falls and preventing mishaps is a cost-effective way to reduce risks. A fall-prevention strategy should incorporate education, home safety assessment and modifications, and the right tools to keep a loved one safe.
Bathroom hazards The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in an elderly person’s house. The combination of slippery surfaces and physical instability requires special attention to safety. To make tubs and showers as safe as possible, install safety bars and textured mats. Is standing in the shower uncomfortable? Include a bath bench and a showerhead with detachable hose. Check water heater settings to help avoid the risk of scalding. For those who find it difficult to get in and out of seated positions, raised seats on toilets may be more comfortable.
Tripping dangers As our vision deteriorates, the risks of tripping and falling increase. Clear away any clutter; move furniture and electrical cords out of high-traffic areas. When designing or redecorating a home, keep in mind that contrast between flooring and walls can make navigation easier. Brightly colored tape can make objects more visible. Is lighting bright throughout the home, especially in entryways, hallways, and the bathroom and kitchen? Consider a lighted cane to illuminate paths.
Area rugs are a tripping hazard at any age. Better is wall-to-wall low-pile carpeting. If you choose not to remove all area rugs, fasten the edges to the floor below with heavy-duty, double-sided tape. For hard floors, use cleaners that don’t leave slippery surfaces. For stairway safety, install railings, ramps if a transport chair is used, or even a seated chair lift if climbing stairs becomes a burden.
Bedroom safety Bedrooms are another area of the home where extra attention is needed to keep a senior safe. Keep a lamp within reach of the bed, and install nightlights along the path to the bathroom. Does your loved one feel cooler because of decreased activity? A safe remedy is layers of blankets, to avoid fire and burn hazards associated with electric blankets or direct heat sources. Use safety railings, and even a safety harness if necessary, to prevent falls from bed.
Tools and products We’re fortunate to live in an age where personal safety devices and tools are readily available. No senior should be without a phone with preprogrammed numbers and a loud ringer. Hearing aids are an important part of home safety, and emergency response systems save lives. For those suffering from lack of mobility, consider the broad range of tools available, from reaching devices to transport chairs.
For a complimentary guide to preventing falls, “It All Starts With a Fall,” call The CareGiver Partnership at 800-985-1353 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-985-1353 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or request one by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The guide also includes 20 of the most useful products to enhance in-home safety. The guide will be available in late October.