5 Ways to Prevent Falls
Today more Americans are living longer, healthier, more active lives. Our parents and grandparents are staying active and living independently. But sadly just one fall could ruin all of that for them.
On average one in three adults 65 and older falls each year. According to the CDC, more than 250,000 hip fractures are reported every year, and 95% of those are from falls. Injuries from falls at can lead to many health issues and in severe cases can lead to death.
Typically falls can lead to limited activity, reduced mobility, and increases the risk of additional injuries. This makes it harder to stay active but also makes it harder for older adults to live independently in their own homes.
There are many reasons a fall can occur, and aging isn’t one of them. A few causes of falls in older adults include medications that cause dizziness, slick floors, poor lighting, and clutter.
Falls can happen anywhere and at any time, but more often than not they happen at home. There are many steps you and your family can take to make your parent’s home safer. Here are 5 easy things you can do to fall-proof their home.
Keep dog toys and clutter picked up at all times and stored away. Remove small furniture, rugs, and electrical cords from main walking areas. Try to keep anything off the floor that can cause someone to trip and fall. Rearrange furniture so there is plenty of space to move freely around the room.
You are never too old for a nightlight. Wall plug-in nightlights add extra lighting to dark rooms. They also keep the floors lit at night, reducing the risk of tripping or knocking into something that can cause someone to fall. Put them in rooms used most often like bedrooms, the kitchen, bathrooms, and hallways.
Stools and ladders can cause more harm than good for older adults. Keep things used most often lower and easily accessible. Even investing in grabbers is a good way to avoid having to climb for something. Taking a fall from on top of a stool or ladder can lead to serious injuries, so stress the importance of having a spotter if they do need to climb on something.
Hard flooring can get slick at times and that can occur after they have been cleaned or if your shoes or socks don’t grip the floor. Stairs can be a big issue if they are slick, so try applying non-slip adhesive strips to them. In bathrooms, use mats on the floor and shower that are non-skid to avoid slipping on the wet flooring.
Tai Chi is similar to yoga. It helps improve balance and tones muscle. In a trial conducted by PubMed.gov, inactive older adults who did tai chi three times a week decreased the risk of falls by 55%.