If Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, or some other aging relative is becoming unsteady on their feet, suffering from dementia, etc., you may worry about falls – and well you should! They are a very definite possibility for many individuals living out their golden years. You may have heard any number of well-meaning pieces of advice regarding the topic of falls.
We’re going to supply you with some fall prevention strategies that actually work, to help keep your loved one safer, longer. Keep in mind, no matter how safe you try to make the home of your loved one, there may well come a time when they would be far safer and healthier in either an independent living community, assisted living community, or memory care-focused community.
Today’s senior living communities offer, in many cases, an almost resort-like atmosphere. With nutritious, chef-prepared meals, beautiful surroundings, full calendars of events, complimentary transportation, assistance available 24/7, and more, it’s a shame for anyone to have to live in danger, in fear, in loneliness, or in an unhealthy or unsafe environment.
All of that said, let’s look at a few ways to prevent falls among retirees.
To help keep your loved one steady, their physician may recommend a walker, cane, etc. These can also be of assistance:
- To bathe while sitting down, use a handheld shower nozzle and a sturdy plastic tub/shower seat
- For the tub or shower, install grab bars
- Use armrests on a raised toilet seat
- For bare wood steps, install non-slip treads
- On both sides of a stairway, handrails should be installed
Provide Plenty of Lighting
To avoid tripping over objects, brightly illuminate your loved one’s home, and:
- In case of power outages, assign easy-to-find places for flashlight storage
- Before going down or up the stairs, encourage your loved one to turn on a light
- If light switches aren’t by the entrance of a room, make sure there’s a clear path to them and consider illuminated or glow-in-the-dark switches
- For the middle of the night needs, directly next to the bed, place a reachable lamp
- In hallways, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc., use nightlights
More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else. Consider the following to make a safer environment in your loved one’s home:
- Tub or shower – consider a bath seat and non-slip mats
- Kitchen – immediately clean up spilled food, grease, and liquids
- Storage – make sure when storing food, dishes, clothing, and other necessities, they are easy to reach
- Flooring – repair tore carpeting and loose tiles or wooden floorboards immediately
- Rugs – remove any loose rugs and use non-slip backing, tacks, or double-faced tape to secure loose rugs if desired.
- Living room – out of high traffic areas, move plant stands, magazine racks, coffee tables, etc
- In general – remove phone cords, electrical cords, newspapers, and boxes from walkways
The Right Shoes
We cannot stress enough, the importance of sensible shoes. Any fall prevention plan must consider footwear. It’s easier to stumble, slip, and fall if your loved one is wearing slick shoes, floppy slippers, high heels, etc. Neither should stocking feet be something they walk around the house in. Not only will falls be reduced by sensible shoes that have non-skid soles, are sturdy, and fit properly, but joint pain may be reduced, as well.
Keep on Moving
Fall prevention is better executed if the person in question is physically active. While calisthenics may be out of the question, there are numerous sit-and-be-fit or chair yoga programs that almost anyone can participate in. Flexibility, coordination, balance, and strength can all be improved through physical activity.
Particularly if falls are becoming a problem where your loved one is concerned, start prevention by scheduling an appointment with their physician. Here are some of the questions you may want to ask the doctor:
- Might these falls be caused by a specific health condition?
- Could the medication my loved one is taking be responsible for their falls?
You may also discuss, with the physician, the circumstances surrounding falls. Where was your loved one when they fell? How were they feeling? Were they dizzy? Did they pass out? Is a lack of nutrition the reason they are falling?
The Safest Environment for Fall Prone Adults
If your aging loved one is falling a lot, shows signs of dementia, or is simply failing to thrive, it may be time for a change.
From inviting indoor common areas and lush outdoor spaces to amazing amenities and cozy residences, Discovery Commons At Wildewood is the perfect choice for your loved ones to spend their golden years.
Let us treat you to a delectable chef-prepared lunch – on us, of course – when you schedule a tour of our community. To contact us, call 301.960.3895, or fill out our convenient online form.