Falls in the home are one of the biggest risks facing seniors. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that one out of three seniors fall each year – and that falling once doubles the risk of a second fall.
This is a very serious issue for seniors, as falls carry a high risk of broken bones and head injuries, with over 250,000 older adults needing hospitalization for hip fractures alone.
In addition to carrying significant personal trauma and financial cost, injuries also tend to have a longer and more intensive recovery time as we age, requiring more extensive therapy and medical attention.
Here are some tips for minimizing the risk of falls in seniors’ homes:
- De-clutter: Clutter creates tight spaces full of obstacles, making the home hard to move through freely. This can include anything from rooms overcrowded with furniture to stacks of books and magazines. Removing clutter and ensuring wide paths for walkers and wheelchairs will prevent collisions and injuries from falling items.
- Install good lighting: Poor lighting won’t just strain your eyes, it also makes it harder to see where you’re going – making good lighting (especially in hallways and on staircases) an essential safety feature. Installing nightlights by the bed is a great way to softly light a bedroom without having to get up in total darkness.
- Handrails: Installing handrails or grab bars in bathrooms and on stairs will help seniors to maneuver themselves more quickly and easily without loosing their balance.
- Remove tripping hazards: Things like loose rugs, polished floors, electrical cables and damaged floorboards can easily cause a fall. You can either repair the item or remove it from the home and replace it with something secure and safe to walk on.
- Non-slip carpeting and mats: Putting non-slip mats in bathtubs and showers will give your loved one an extra grip when bathing. They can also be placed on kitchen floors and tiled/smooth-surfaced outdoor areas that can get wet and slippery.
- Get the right clothing: Trousers and skirts that are too long are another serious tripping hazard for seniors. Correctly hemmed clothing will help increase comfort and safety. Also, check the soles of your loved one’s shoes for wear that can reduce their grip and, if your loved one likes wearing socks around the house, invest in some non-slip socks.
Our Continuing Care Retirement Communities are designed with safety in mind
At United Methodist Homes (UMH) of New Jersey, we offer all our residents comfortable and spacious senior living accommodations that are designed to meet senior safety standards – whether your loved one is independent or requires assisted living services. Complete with 24-hour emergency alert and fire safety systems, these apartments are well lit, fully equipped and easily navigable on foot, with a walker or in a wheelchair. We also offer housekeeping services, interior maintenance services, meal services and 24-hour access to licensed nurses for additional care and peace of mind.
For more information on our independent senior living, assisted living, long-term and nursing home care communities in Sussex County, Camden County, Monmouth County, greater Gloucester County and greater Cape May County in New Jersey, please contact us at UMH today or visit www.umh-nj.org for more information.
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