While falls happen to one out of four elderly people each year across America, you worry that one of these days it may be one of your elderly family members that will fall next. 3 million injuries treated in emergency rooms across the nation are due to senior falls. Some of these fall injuries, about 27,000, are fatal. There are ways to help ease that worry. Making some adjustments to their home to prevent falls is a good place to start. Fall mats are a great addition too, in high fall risk areas of the house.
Bedroom fall prevention
30 percent of senior falls occur in their bedroom according to a study done during the late 90’s. Falls have occurred in bedrooms due to:
- not enough lighting
- cords for electronics being in walkways.
- throw rugs not being properly secured and sliding out from underfoot.
- other obstacles in walkways
- edges of carpets being curled up.
- not enough supportive furnishings within the bedroom
These are relatively simple fixes to make the bedroom safer and prevent future falls for your elderly family member. Start off by making sure that there is proper lighting in the room. Also, make sure there is a light in close reach of the bed for easy access. Adding night lights from the bedroom to the bathroom can help as well. Make sure any electronic cords are secured up against walls so that they don’t obstruct the walkways.
Instead of putting down a throw rug next to the bed replace it with the best fall mat for the elderly and always make sure it is secured to the floor. Ensure there is plenty of room to walk and move around and that there is nothing blocking the walking areas. Finally make sure the bed and any chairs in the bedroom are the right height. When sitting, your elderly family member’s knees should be bent at a ninety-degree angle so that it is easier for them you get up and they aren’t trying to ‘climb’ into bed literally.
Bathroom fall preventions.
The bathrooms of the house are going to be another area in need of safety improvements for your elderly family member. Slippery surfaces and floors can be a big fall factor. Adding grab bars for the toilet as well as the shower will give the extra needed support to get up and down. A shower chair would also be a beneficial addition so that there is less worry about slipping in the shower. Fall mats in front of the tub, toilet, and sink will help to make the floor less slippery and provide better stability while standing. Make sure the bathroom has proper lighting just as you did in the bedroom.
Kitchen fall preventions
The kitchen is going to need constant attention to prevent falls. You will want to keep the kitchen accessories that your loved one uses most frequently at an easy to reach level. Put spices on a low shelf or on an easy to reach spice rack on the counter. As the seasons and holidays change, help by switching the seasonal dishes and cookware. Replace the throw rugs or kitchen mats with fall mats. Fall mats would be good in front of the kitchen sink as well as in front of the refrigerator and stove.
Throughout the house
As you go through your loved one’s home look around and make sure there is enough lighting, nothing in the walkways that can cause a fall, and add fall mats in places like the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Making your elderly family member’s home safer for them to move around and continue to live independently will help lower not only your own stress and worry for their wellbeing, but it will also lower their stress.