SUSAN FISHER & TAMMY ADAMS,
Special to The Standard
Falls are a major issue for seniors, as they are the leading cause of physical injuries among older adults. One in four seniors will experience a fall each year, which can lead to serious health issues, such as broken bones, head trauma, and decreased mobility. It is important for seniors to take proactive steps to prevent falls in their homes, as falls can sometimes be life-threatening.
When it comes to preventing falls, the first step is to assess the home environment. Below are some tips for seniors that can help to minimize the risk of falls:
1. Look for any potential hazards which could lead to a fall, such as rugs, loose wires, or furniture which could cause tripping. Seniors should also ensure any stairs in their home have sturdy railings and all light bulbs work properly.
2. Ensure their home is well-lit. Keeping a lamp or nightlight in each room will help them navigate their home more easily, especially in the evening and during the night. They should also ensure adequate lighting on staircases and that hallways are well-lit. You can purchase self-adhesive, battery-operated motion sensor lights on Amazon or from a local hardware store.
3. Make sure their home is free of clutter. Clutter can be a fall hazard, as it can block pathways and cause tripping. Ensuring there is a clear pathway throughout the home is extremely important. Ensuring their floors are kept clean and free of objects or debris will promote safety and independence.
4. Create a safe environment in the bathroom; this means making sure the shower or bathtub has non-slip mats, a shower/bath bench, transfer poles and/or grab bars and an elevated toilet seat with handles.
When leaving home, bringing a cane or walker will help minimize the risk of falls in the community. Always ensure porches, stairs and walkways are properly salted/sanded and cleared of any snow in the winter, leaves in the autumn (wet leaves can be slippery), and any ice in the spring to help decrease the risk of falls.
As an added precaution, seniors can invest in devices such as Lifeline or other fall alert devices that automatically detect when someone has fallen and immediately alert emergency services. Many families, and seniors alike, find comfort in having these devices in place to help with their peace of mind that they will be taken care of promptly should a fall occur.
By taking these steps, seniors can reduce their risk of falling in and around their homes. Regular exercise, checking medications and vision, and being aware of their environment can all help to reduce the risk of falls. With the right precautions, seniors can stay safe and independent in their homes.
Tammy and Susan run Silver Lights Senior Services, a family-owned and operated seniors’ homecare company serving the City of Kawartha Lakes, Port Perry and Uxbridge. They recently opened a new Adult Day Program for Dementia in Lindsay. Find them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website at www.silverlightsseniorservices.com.