Nobody likes falling down. It is something that tends to happens a lot as we are younger, but as we age we fall less and less. The likelihood of a fall decreases with age, but there comes a point when the chance of a fall starts to increase again. Generally those who are over sixty-five are at an increased risk of a fall.
Falling in and of itself does not always result in injury and it is completely natural to fall down once in a while. The problem that arises with age, is the inability to catch oneself as you fall and the increased risk of an injury. Many times disorders like osteoporosis can make the bones weaker, so a simple fall could end up resulting in a serious injury. It can be much harder for a senior citizen to recover from a broken bone or other serious injury, so preventing falls is incredibly important.
One of the most common causes for a fall is as a result of objects in the environment. This includes differences in elevation, like perhaps a living room that is slightly lower than the rest of the house, or a slippery bathroom floor. In many cases these types of falls can be prevented by taking care to address the environment of the senior.
One of the most important things to do is clearly mark all areas of differing elevation in the house. Using a brightly colored textured tape can be a great way to do this. Simply use a strip of tape on all areas that vary in height. This includes things like the fireplace, which you don’t normally step onto, but can be easily tripped over. Clearly marking all stairs and any other areas that require a step down or a step up is incredibly important.
Loose throw rugs and carpets account for many accidents and should be removed from the home. In the bathroom and kitchen, a slipper floor can easily result in an accident. The bathroom is of immense concern, because there are many dangerous edges and hard surfaces, so a fall in the bathroom can result in a serious injury. Using non-skid mats in the bathroom and using protective coverings on sharp corners and edges is a good idea. A proper shower curtain is also essential to prevent water from being spilled on the floor and ideally a shower door should be installed.
In addition to falls from slippery surfaces, many people also fall trying to reach the upper shelves of a cupboard. A sturdy, well made, and wide stepping stool should be used, but it is usually advised to position all objects so that no stepping stool is needed. Space saving devices like Lazy Susan’s can be installed in the kitchen to help reduce the need of storing things on the upper shelves.
Having enough light and easy to reach light switches is also important when preventing falls. The light switches can be marked with the same tape used to mark areas of differing elevation. Larger light switches are also available that are easier to use than the traditional ones in most homes. For outdoor use, motion sensing lights are often used. Make sure you adjust the sensitivity so the light cuts on as soon as you step out of the door or move around the yard.
Preventing falls is important at any age, but for seniors, preventing falls is extremely important.