While the colder weather has everyone more mindful of being safe while out and about, now is also a great time to be mindful of fall prevention in your home. Everyone, especially those with aging parents, can make some simple modifications within their homes to help prevent falls from happening. Falling is NOT a normal part of aging, and our team at Community Sports & Therapy Center is here to make sure your family members are able to live a healthy and active life – even as they age.
People who fall once are more likely to fall again.
Many individuals are fearful to tell a loved one they have fallen, and likewise, many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their everyday activities which can lead to reduced mobility and loss of strength, and increase their actual risk of falling. Monitor your loved ones for signs of being a fall risk. Early prevention helps keep your loved one in their own home and active for a longer period of time, leading to a higher quality of life.
1 in 4 older adults reported falling — with most falls happening inside their own homes.
Modifying your home to prevent falls does not have to be a large, time-consuming process. A few simple modifications can help keep your loved ones safe.
- Remove tripping hazards – review every room in your loved one’s home for potential fall or tripping hazards. Common culprits include area rugs, worn transition pieces and furniture clustered too closely together in high traffic areas.
- Be mindful of excess clutter and designate a new area for miscellaneous items – daily things such as magazines, newspapers, shoes, etc. can pile up and become a major hazard and impact your ability to move through a space. Remove the clutter and designate a safe area to store newspapers and magazines. Keep shoes or any loose items tucked neatly into an area that is free of foot traffic.
- Be proactive in common fall areas – this includes stepping in and out of the shower, moving up and down stairs and using the toilet. Install affordable grab bars in these areas to prevent falls before they happen.
- Assess the lighting in your home – Dark or poorly lit areas create a fall risk. We are prone to trip when we cannot clearly see the path in front of us. Make sure areas like stairways, hallways and bathrooms are clearly lit, possibly utilizing a brighter bulb if necessary. Simple additions such as nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms provide additional protection from falls.
- Modify the home to make it one level – utilizing all major living areas such as the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen on one floor will prevent unnecessary trips up and down the stairs. Make sure your loved ones can get everywhere they need without having to use the stairs on their own.
- Make it non-slip – think of the areas within your home that become slippery when wet. This includes showers, bathrooms and floors in the kitchens, garages and porches. Apply the appropriate measures to make those areas non-slip areas. This can be accomplished by applying a non-slip mat or making sure there is a good handrail for additional support.
- Stay physically active – remaining active will help keep your loved ones mobile and prevent falls. Many adults become less active as they age. Establishing an easy, at-home routine to keep them moving or encouraging them to join a safe, age-appropriate fitness class can help keep them active.
What to do if you suspect your loved one is at risk for falling.
If you believe your loved one may be at a higher risk for falling, we encourage you to click here to assess your loved one’s risk for falling. You can also talk to your family doctor about your concerns and look for fall prevention improvements in your home for improved safety. Consider therapy for increased strength and endurance to decrease your fall risk.
What is a home assessment and why should one be done?
Community Sports and Therapy Center is now offering home assessments to help you navigate through these challenges and keep you or your loved one safely at home. During a home assessment, one of our experienced occupational therapists or physical therapists will take the time to personally meet with you and your family. They will assess you or your loved one’s ability to function throughout your home. The set-up of each room in your home will be evaluated for trip hazards and optimal efficiency. Recommendations will be made to increase a person’s function and safety. Some of these recommendations include use of equipment, grab bar placement, elimination of trip hazards, arrangement of furniture, etc.
Your safety is our top priority.
The therapist will also assist in making recommendations for progressing diseases as applicable, such as low vision or dementia. The therapist will work with the family on providing solutions that will allow the person to remain in their home. A home safety assessment is an important tool for verifying the safety of patients and their home environment, identifying and correcting deficiencies, and minimizing and preventing losses.