The National Council on Aging estimates that 25 percent of Americans 65 and older fall every year. The council says that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans.
That might not be surprising to adult children of aging seniors, as this tends to be one of the biggest worries and causes for keeping them up at night.
Here are a few ways that you can feel better about keeping your loved one safer from falls while they are out of your sight and receiving elderly care at home.
Furniture & Layout:
It might seem simple, but one of the quickest and easiest ways to eliminate accidental falls in the home is to be vigilant and watching for tripping hazards in and around your senior’s household. Make sure items like pet’s toys, shoes, and household items are kept picked up and don’t rearrange the furniture. Be sure that any doors leading to staircases are kept shut and/or locked, and if you must have area rugs, make sure they are kept secured into place with a non-slip backing.
When you are thinking of elderly care, shoes aren’t often the first thing to come to mind, but proper fitting and rubber-soled shoes can play an important part in preventing injuries from falls at home and on the go. If you aren’t sure what shoes are best, talk to your senior’s doctor and let them know your concerns. They may have some tips on proper footwear with regards to both orthopedic and safety reasons.
Many seniors use assistance to help get them from place to place, like walkers and canes. Be sure they know how to properly use these helpful items and that they are in good working condition; without any loose parts or wear and tear that could cause a breakdown which could lead to a fall or other injury. Keep these items stored where your parent can reach them easily but that they are not going to cause a tripping incident.
When was the last time your loved one receiving elderly care had their eyes checked? They may not think that they have an issue, but regular eye exams are important for everyone, especially as we age. Getting fitted for proper eyeglasses, if needed, can be a good first step in preventing falls from lack of good vision.
When you or your loved one’s caregivers are taking them outside of their home, think ahead about the types of obstacles and terrain they may experience depending on where you are going. Places with unpaved walkways, brick or stone paths, and slick or wet surfaces may not be the best destinations for seniors who have issues with balance or mobility.
As always, share your concerns with your loved one’s caregivers. They are experienced with seniors and are a great resource on additional ways that you can work together to keep your parent safe.