Did you know falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults? So how can you help your parents make their home safe?
First, you can address the fall risks in the home, room by room. You may be so used to the layout of their home and the way things are that you don’t notice the risks. Be prepared for some push back, particularly if they are resistant to you stepping in and “taking over.” This is a great opportunity to work together to identify risks and solutions together.
Do they have a front porch?
How is the lighting?
Do they have a sturdy railing for the steps?
Are there cracks that need to be leveled?
How is the lighting in the front entrance?
Does furniture block a clear entry?
Is there a rug at the door? Is it secure on a non-stick mat?
Are there rugs that can cause someone to slip or trip?
Are there phone cables or power cords in walkways?
Are there clear walkways?
Is there enough room to maneuver the room? Is the coffee table too close to the table or is there enough room to get around a side table?
Are the floorboards or carpeting loose? Carpet can stretch and sag over the years, making it easy to trip.
Is there ample lighting in the room?
Is there ample lighting?
Is there a clear pathway from your bed to the door?
Are there rugs? Make sure they are secure.
Are there phone cords or TV cables in walkways?
Keep a flashlight in your nightstand in case there is a power outage.
Install grab bars in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet.
Clean up water spills immediately.
Place non-skid mats on surfaces that might get wet.
Add commodes to help with standing.
Add a shower bench to prevent falls.
General Household Tips:
Make sure all walkways are clear.
Keep frequently used items easily accessible to avoid overreaching or dizziness after bending.
Arrange furniture so there is sufficient room to move around and clear pathways of newspapers, magazines or boxes.
Consider purchasing furniture that is an adequate height to make getting in and out of a chair easier.
Put nightlights in each room so that no room is completely dark.
Add a comfortable reclining lift chair to eliminate falls that occur from trying to stand up with weak muscles