If you’re noticing that your elderly mom or dad is having more problems
getting around independently, your family is at a critical juncture.
By now you’ve heard the
. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 33,000 people
died from falls in 2015. Most of them were over the age of 65.
In fact, one in three older adults falls every year. It’s why falls are the
leading cause of injury-related death for adults over the age of 65. The
threat of accidental death inside your parent’s home is frightening, but
the reality is, things are much different after a fall even if a person
In many cases, the first fall can completely change a senior's quality of
life. It can be the beginning of a downward spiral where your loved one
eventually loses the independence he or she has always known. That’s why
fall prevention is so important.
If you’re beginning to worry more about Mom or Dad’s mobility, below are
important steps you can take to fall-proof your parent’s home and avoid
this catastrophic event.
Floor Traction is Key
Start with the basics. These are the first crucial steps you should take to
fall-proof your loved one's home:
Many seniors shuffle their feet instead of picking them up when they
walk, which puts them at a much higher risk of falling. With this in mind,
secure all carpets to the floor, and consider covering hardwood with
anchored carpet. This presents a softer surface and gives your loved one
more traction around the house. Get rid of any high-pile carpets that can
As a rule of thumb, every rug or carpet should require some effort to move
Remove throw rugs that can slip from under your parent’s feet. If Mom or
Dad wants a rug for a room, consider buying a non-slip rug pad. Rug anchors
can also help prevent slips and trips.
Ensuring Home is Easy to Navigate
Along with traction, the home must be easy to navigate. The following tips
will help ensure your parent can move around the house safely:
Open the space. Arrange furniture so that there is plenty of space to
move around. That may mean getting rid of end tables, or furniture that’s
only in the room for décor.
Ensure commonly used items are accessible. Think of food in pantries
with high shelves, clothing in closets, power outlets and light switches
behind small furniture, pots, pans and dishes in hanging cabinets, as well
as car keys if they’re still driving – you don’t want Mom or Dad having to
reach for these things, as this can result in falls. Spend some time with
your parent, figure out the things she needs to access the most and make
Ensure adequate lighting. Every single room in the house needs good
lighting, especially where there are stairs. Purchase night-lights and put
them in the bathroom, kitchen and hallways in case Mom or Dad gets up in
the middle of the night.
Secure the Stairs
Install railings. Ensure every set of stairs in your home has at least
two railings for your parent to grip while climbing or descending the
Apply non-slip adhesive strips to the stairs. We can’t spend enough time
talking about the stairs. That’s because staircase and stairway accidents
are the second-leading cause of accidental injury, second only to motor
vehicle accidents. Per the National Safety Council, every year, there are
12,000 stairway accidental deaths. And that number
includes people of all ages.
Install grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and toilets. Of the one in
three seniors who fall annually, the
National Institute on Aging
says 80 percent of those falls are in the bathroom.
Going the Extra Mile
Consider a help button. Your loved one must be able to reach someone in
case a fall does happen. There are numerous brands to choose from, so do
your due diligence using reviews and price.
home care services.
Superior home care providers can
your home. Professional caregivers are also around to complete tasks for
your loved one, reducing the risk of injury. While you may be confident in
assuming the role as family caregiver for your parent, the reality is that
professional caregivers have far more experience in recognizing the
pitfalls in Mom or Dad’s home and are critical in securing it.
Using these steps, you can significantly mitigate your parent's risk of
falling. For more information on falls and fall prevention, click here.