Take These Steps to Prevent a Tumble
12 steps to prevent debilitating slips and falls
What is the #1 risk for the elderly? Slipping and falling, which can exacerbate conditions or cause serious injuries. To compound the impact of such an accident, the aging human body is much less able to “bounce back.” Individuals who are used to having more agile, responsive bodies and minds can find it very challenging to adapt to changing conditions. You can help them by sharing this information.
Easy steps that can be taken in just a few hours include:
- Taping down loose rugs
- Placing non-skid mats on bathroom floors and kitchens
- Eliminating clutter
- Improving or creating additional lighting
- Installing nightlights
- Placing a flashlight near stairs to use in the dark
The last three steps all relate to lack of visibility: a major factor in making spaces difficult to navigate and increasing the chance of falling.
Some steps involve more time, money, and perhaps construction, but can help to make a big difference:
- Replace knobs and faucets with levers
- Purchase a pull-down shelving system for accessories in cabinets
- Install grab bars, such as Amramp's grab bars or Superpole
- Replace a standard toilet with a comfort-height model
- Use a walk-in shower with no thresholds: Amramp sells and rents portable, accessible showers or a hand shower with a seat, if possible
- A vanity cut-out can help make a sink wheelchair accessible
There are other ways that you can help patients take ownership of their safety. Show them how to create a Fall Prevention Plan: Incorporating gentle exercise (Tai Chi, walking, water aerobics), teach them about wearing proper supportive/comfortable footwear. Suggest a medical assessment to determine if arthritis is a factor or if there are any balance issues with a patient's eyes or ears. A medication review should also be performed to determine if any side effects might be impacting balance.
Avoiding falls and debilitating injuries with these changes and create a prevention strategy plan. While some changes are more involved, many can be made quickly and easily to help minimize risk.