Falls are a major cause of injuries in seniors. Falls threaten senior’s independence and safety and adds pain and financial pressures on them due to injury, hospital admissions and doctors visits.
Did You Know?
(According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
In 2014, the total cost of fall injuries was $31 billion.
The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Fear of falls is another factor due to which many seniors isolate themselves from having social interactions with their family or friends. This in turn causes them to become depressed which further impacts their quality of life.
However, with knowledge and plan seniors can safely remain in their homes and chances for falls/injury can be greatly reduced. Below are tips to make the home as safe as possible for seniors and elderly.
Rugs – Rugs can become a hazard for falls. The corners of the rugs could be bent and may cause the person to trip. Be sure to use glue or double sided tape at the corners of the rug if it is placed in the living room otherwise it’s best to remove them.
Chairs – Chairs must be stable and not rocky/wobbly. Seniors feet should touch the ground when sitting on them. Chairs height can be adjusted by adding cushions.
Furniture – Remove any sharp edge or glass furniture. Glass furniture if broken can cause serious injuries. Use furniture that has rounded corners or edges.
De-clutter – Too much items laying around the room could easily become a hazard for seniors. Whether they are on the floor or scattered in the room does not give an impression of an organized room and greatly increases the chance for trips/falls. Instead keep the room organized by removing items that are not needed on an every day basis. There should be enough space to walk around the room. Another idea is to change the layout of the room, which could free up some space.
Lights – There should be adequate lighting in the room. Lights that are turned on by clapping is great option for seniors with mobility issues or people who have arthritis problems. If lighting is not enough, floor lamps can be placed or call an electrician to install more overhead lights.
Smoke Detectors – Check smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries yearly to make sure they are working properly.
Temperature – Check to make sure windows are properly insulated to keep warm during winter months. In summer time, blinds or curtains can help keep the room temperature cooler.