As seniors continue to age, even common household items like a throw rug or an electrical cord can represent safety threats. Visiting Angels®, a trusted home care agency, understands how important it is to your loved one to live happily in their own home and to remain safe at all times.
Our focus on safety and well-being leads us to a continued concentration on fall prevention. The National Safety Council cites falls as the leading causes of injury deaths to individuals aged 65 and older. Being proactive at preventing falls is your best defense against broken bones and fractured hips. Unfortunately, these types of accidents happen far too often and can result in even more serious problems or complications.
That’s why Visiting Angels offers a complimentary in-home assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for resolving them. When it comes to making a home safe, there are two variables:
- Home environment
- Seniors themselves
Easy Environmental Changes for Fall Prevention
Some very simple changes will help prevent falls and injury:
Your loved one may have the same lamps in the same spots for as long as you can remember. Failing eyesight or general instability can make it harder for them to navigate in a dimly lit room. Make sure the maximum wattage bulb is placed in each socket, and add more lamps if needed. Install nightlights with sensors in every possible location. If your loved one is comfortable using a tool like Amazon’s Echo, purchase smart plugs so lighting can be controlled by voice command.
Almost anything can become an obstacle, including furniture and area rugs. If your loved one uses a cane or walker, be wary as these mobility aids can catch on rugs or furniture corners. Bathrooms can be especially dangerous because of the hard surfaces. Adding grab bars in the shower and near the toilet can help improve bathroom safety for the elderly.
Reaching for a book on a top shelf or crouching to retrieve a sweater from a bottom drawer can make a senior unstable and at risk for injury. Go through the house with them to determine their commonly used household and personal items. Reorganize these items to make them easily accessible at all times.
- Physical Changes That Can Lead to Falls
In addition to the environment, the natural aging process can cause a breakdown in balance, eyesight, and other health concerns that are leading contributors to falls. Whether you enlist a home care agency, like Visiting Angels, or you are the family caregiver, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure your loved one’s safety:
Consult with your loved one’s doctors to discuss side effects, especially dizziness. Although a common response to many medications, dizziness may only be a temporary problem as your loved one adjusts to a new prescription. If it persists, a doctor may prescribe transitioning to another drug. Also, make sure doctors are aware of all medications being taken to avoid complications when medications are not compatible.
- Vision and Hearing Checkups
Schedule regular vision and hearing tests for your loved one. Blurry vision or an inner ear imbalance can make even the safest homes hazardous. Caregivers from our home care agency are available to take your loved one to the doctor whenever you’d need an extra pair of hands.
- Engage in Activities
Engage your loved one in low-impact exercises that will help strengthen muscles, stimulate blood flow, and even re-build balance. Walking, gardening and even chair yoga are fun pursuits many seniors enjoy. Many communities have senior centers with a wide range of activities to participate in. If they are not interested in joining a senior center, you can find plenty of videos on YouTube.
Seniors may feel the need for something to stabilize them. Speak with their doctor or physical therapist to determine the best device for their needs. Assistive devices like canes and walkers offer a variety of seat options and storage compartments that can help give them the confidence they need.
Our home care agency is here for any questions you have about making the home they love a safe place to live. For more information, check out our Fall Prevention brochure.
If you’re interested in more information about what a home care agency can do to help prevent falls, contact your nearest Visiting Angels office today by calling 800-365-4189.