Preventing Falls

Falls in and around the home are one of the most frequent causes of injury to seniors.

The number of falls and the severity of injury increase exponentially with age.  However, most falls are preventable.  Taking the appropriate precautions will not only allow the senior to remain living independently at home, but it will also provide his or her child with piece of mind that their parent is safe.

  • Make sure stairways and hallways have bright light. Night lights for late night bathroom trips help prevent falls, as do lamps or light switches next to the bed.
  • Remove clutter. When everything has a place, nothing is tripped over.
  • Keep telephone and electrical cords under furniture and away from pathways.
  • Add handrails to shower, tub and toilet area.  Soap and towel holders cannot hold the weight of adults.
  • Use bath mats with suction cups, non adhesive strips or mats in shower or tub. Consider a shower bench or stool.
  • Wear nonslip low heeled shoes or slippers that fit snugly.  Don’t walk around in stocking feet.
  • Throw out rugs without non skid backings or attach them.  Tack rugs to lie flat. Ensure carpets are firmly attached to stairs.
  • Use all available outdoor lighting. Sensor lights that turn on with movement are helpful.
  • Use handrails on all steps no matter how easy the steps seem, or how many times you’ve used them before.
  • Avoid broken sidewalks or areas under construction.
  • When out in your car, park where it’s clear of snow and ice. Try to keep your driving to daylight hours so that you’re able to see patches of ice on the streets and in parking lots. Keep kitty litter or sand in your car to create traction if your car is stuck and for traction on outdoor walkways and stairs.
  • High blood pressure and heart problems can cause dizziness that can lead to falls. Remember to get up from a laying down position slowly if you have either of these ailments.
  • Many elders fall while making a run for the bathroom because of difficulty controlling their bladder. Talk to the doctor about what can be done for this condition.
  • Both prescription medications and over the counter medications can cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Talk to the doctor or pharmacist about what side effects you can expect from medications.