The CDC’s statistics on seniors and falling prove what families have known for a long time: that falls can be very serious for seniors. Millions of seniors fall in their homes each year, and more than 800,000 are injured seriously enough that they end up in the hospital. Hip fractures and should fractures are painful and can take seniors months to recover from. So preventing seniors from falling at home is something that all families of seniors are concerned about. The first thing that you should do is have a home safety assessment done. An elder care provider that has extensive training will go around your senior loved one’s home and prepare a checklist of things that you should fix or change to lower the risk that your senior parent will fall.
Then you and elder care aides should address each of these three common fall hazards for seniors.
Cords are trip and fall hazards for almost everyone, but especially for seniors who may have poor depth perception and vision. They may not see the cords or have a clear understanding of how high they need to step in order to avoid the cords. Seniors can have a lot of cords around the house. From the TV to humidifiers, oxygen tanks, CPAP machines, and medical equipment seniors could have tripping hazards all over the house. You can eliminate this risk by making sure that equipment isn’t plugged in when it’s not being used. And you should organize the cords using power strips to keep them tidy. Then use cord keepers and cord organizers to gather up all the cords and keep them close to the wall and out of the way of where your senior is trying to work.
Area rugs that aren’t secured can be extremely slippery, and the edges of the rugs can curl up and trip seniors as they try to walk. If it’s possible getting wall to wall carpeting is the best solution to this problem. Wall to wall carpeting isn’t a trip hazard, it will keep your senior loved one’s feet warm, and if they do fall it will give them a soft surface to land on. The cost of wall to wall carpeting may be prohibitive but it’s definitely something that you should consider having installed in your loved one’s home. If you must use area rugs use rug tape and anti-slip pads to make sure that the rugs don’t slide. A great DIY hack is to use caulk to secure the rug to the floor. Make sure that your senior loved one’s elder care provider checks any area rugs regularly to make sure they haven’t come loose.
It may seem like furniture is a very obvious trip and fall hazard, but some people don’t understand the way that a senior navigates a room. You might think that you’ve left plenty of room between chairs, or between a chair and a table, but for your senior isn’t not enough room for them to walk comfortably. They could bump into furniture and fall. Walk through your loved one’s home with a home care provider and take their advice on where to put furniture and what furniture you should put into storage or get rid of because it’s a hazard.