We like to think that our loved ones are safe in their homes. Unfortunately, though, many older adults suffer injuries while in their own houses.
Falls are one of the most common ways that seniors hurt themselves while at home. In fact, the National Safety Council says that falls are the cause of approximately one-third of all non-fatal injuries in the United States. Part of keeping your elderly family member from falling at home is knowing what could cause them to fall. Below are 5 things that can cause a fall at home.
1: Cluttered Walkways
Items in walkways can cause seniors to trip while walking. Some common things that clutter walkways are stacks of old magazines or newspapers, shoes left out, and furniture that sticks out. Take a walk through the older adult’s home and pay attention to how clear pathways are. If the senior uses a walker or cane, make certain they have ample room to get through without catching the assistive device on something. Put away any items that were simply left in places they don’t belong.
2: Poor Lighting
As people get older, they tend to develop vision problems. Not being able to see well can cause them to accidentally run into things or misstep. Using brighter lighting in the house can make it easier for them to see. Increase the wattage of lightbulbs to the maximum that is safe for the light fixtures in the home. Also, use brighter lighting outside around doorways, so that it is easier for the senior to see getting to the door and put their key into the lock.
3: Uneven Surfaces
Uneven surfaces in the home are a tripping hazard. Examine the thresholds throughout the house and make the necessary changes to even them out. In addition, if there are floors that are in disrepair, such as loose tiles, fix them.
4: Loose Rugs
Throw rugs are lovely and can warm up the home, but they can also roll up at the edges and cause a fall. Remove as many loose throw rugs from the home as possible. If some must be left, purchase two-sided tape made for securing rugs and stick each rug down.
5: Lack of Handrails and Grab Bars
Every stairwell in the home should have a handrail on both sides. Place handrails along the walls of long hallways, too. In the bathroom, install grab bars near the bathtub or shower and the toilet.
Another way to prevent falls at home is to have an elderly care provider to spend time with the older adult. An elderly care provider can help to keep the house fall-proofed by keeping things picked up and out of walkways. They can also change lightbulbs when they go out. Elderly care providers can also help unsteady seniors to get up from chairs, get in and out of the bath, and walk with them from one room to another.