Falling is unpleasant for everyone, but for seniors it could dangerous or even life threatening. Even small falls can cause injuries that may affect seniors for the rest of their lives. It’s always good to stop and consider the steps that can be taken to protect the seniors in your care from falling:
Have a Plan for the Winter- With the cold weather just around the corner, we are forced to think about that four letter word…s-n-o-w! When sidewalks and roads get icy, the risk of slips and falls increases exponentially. It is important to have a plan in place to deal with that risk. A good start is to purchase good quality boots with adequate traction and to make sure that driveways, stairs, and sidewalks are always free of ice and snow.
Have Strategies to Avoid Stair Falls- While falling down the stairs is dangerous for seniors, these types of falls are also preventable. Some strategies to prevent stair falls include improving lighting over the stairs, installing handrails on both sides of the stairs, ensuring that the stairs are slip resistant, and encouraging seniors to always approach stairs slowly and cautiously.
Be Careful in the Bathroom- The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home for seniors. With water on the floor and slippery surfaces, the risks of slips and falls are high. You can mitigate that risk by installing grab bars near the bath and toilet, place a rubber mat or another non-stick surface in the bathtub, and by having a seat available in the bathtub so that sitting is an option if necessary.
Reduce Clutter- Clutter is often a contributor to slip and falls. When there is stuff on the floor, it is easy to trip over it. Try to keep main living spaces clear of clutter so that you are not dodging obstacles as you try to walk through the room. While a cluttered floor may seem harmless, it can become a real tripping hazard especially if someone is distracted.
Reduce Stress- Stressed and/ or tired people, have a significantly higher risk of falling. Help protect the seniors in your care from falls by encouraging them to get enough sleep and by helping them reduce their stress level. It can be particularly dangerous for them to be frantically rushing around or looking for things. Sometimes just helping them get organized can make a big difference.
While there is no doubt that falls are dangerous for seniors, the good news is that they are preventable. Implementing the above tips can effectively protect the seniors in your care.