Every year, millions of senior citizens across the country are admitted to emergency rooms because of injuries caused by falls.
And with good cause. Falls are a serious, and often fatal, problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with the national rate of fatal falls on the rise:
- More than 800,000 people are hospitalized each year because of falls.
- One-fifth of all falls among seniors result in a serious injury such as head trauma. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Nearly all hip fractures are due to falls.
- Falling once makes it more likely you’ll fall again. This is because many people develop a phobia of falling, leading them to become inactive, and therefore weaker and more susceptible to falls.
According to the Mayo Clinic and the CDC, seniors can prevent falls at home by taking these measures:
1. Clear out clutter and trip hazards
The better organized your home, the safer it will be. Remove anything that could block your path – boxes, electrical cords, old newspapers or magazines – especially near stairs or in hallways.
Inspect your hallways and rooms for loose rugs or carpets or uneven floorboards, and fix or replace them as needed.
Make sure spills – liquids, grease, foods – get cleaned up right away.
2. Slow down
You can prevent falls by going slow when you move around at home. Try not to stand up too quickly – lift chair recliners can help with this – or to lay down too fast.
3. Light up your home
Falls are easier to prevent when you can see where you’re going. Make sure you have bright bulbs lighting your stairways and hallways and consider adding a nightlight to your bedroom and bathrooms.
4. Shoes and clothes
We know the feeling: you get home, and you can’t wait to take your shoes off. But going around in socks can cause you to slip. We’re not suggesting you wear work shoes at home all day. Wear sensible, comfortable shoes, or look for some socks that have non-slip grips on the soles. Baggy clothing can present a trip hazard. Wear clothing that’s comfortable, but that won’t bunch up.
5. Grab bars and non-slip surfaces
Prevent falls in the bathroom by adding non-slip mats to tubs and showers, and by installing grab bars, which can help users get in and out of the bathtub or on and off the toilet. You can even put a grab bar or railing in the hallway to help you navigate.
6. Stay active
Getting regular exercise can help you prevent falls. Things like walking and water aerobics can help prevent falls by improving your balance, coordination and strength.
If you’re worried about engaging in physical activity because you think it might cause a fall, talk to your doctor. They can recommend the right type of exercise for you or connect you with a physical therapist. That brings us to our next point…
7. Talk to your doctor
Consult your doctor about the medications you’re taking and your overall health. They can review your medications to see if there are side effects that could cause you to fall and determine whether you have any medical conditions that could cause falling.
8. Stay off the stairs
Your staircase can be a serious safety hazard as you get older. You may want to try using them only when necessary, or spending time all on one floor.
We recognize that using just one floor isn’t always practical, which is why a ramp or stair lift might be a good option for getting up and down.
If you or a loved one are worried about falls, or are having trouble getting around at home, Marx Medical can help.
We provide a variety of different home modifications, including platform lifts, elevators and stair lifts in Philadelphia, NJ and DE, as well as products such as lift chair recliners and medical alert devices.
In fact, our medical alert devices even feature a fall detection program, so that parents and children can rest assured that help will be on its way in case of a fall.
Contact us today to find out how we can help make your home a safer place to live.