Most people do not expect to be in any danger at home. But you’re more likely to fall there than anywhere else. Here’s how to stay safe.
Your home is the last place you’d expect to have a severe accident. It’s the place where you should feel the safest. Unfortunately, you and your loved ones are more likely to be at risk of falling inside your home than away from it.
You may not believe it at first. But your chances of falling at home are higher than you think.
Elderly members of your household are especially prone to injuries from falls. Sadly, accidental falls are the leading cause of death for people 65 and older. But anyone can fall at home, including you, your children, or anyone in your home suffering from health issues.
The good news is that you can reduce your fall risk by taking some precautions. Here are some ways to fall-proof your home to ensure everyone is safe.
Where Do Most Falls Occur in the Elderly?
Anything in your home can be a tripping hazard. The throw rug in your living room could snag your foot and send you tumbling. Or perhaps a misstep could have you crashing down the stairs. If you have a lot of clutter at home, that could be a one-way ticket to the floor.
Here are the most common areas where falls occur in the home:
- The stairs. Your risk of falling increases if there is nothing to assist you in your descent.
- The front door. That steep step up to your front door may be the reason for your next fall.
- The driveway. You may sustain acute injuries if you fall on the hard pavement outside.
- The bathroom. Getting in or out of your shower or tub puts you at a high risk of falling.
- The bedroom. It’s easy to toss and turn off the side of your bed when you’re sleeping.
- The living room. If you don’t have stairs, you could still trip on cables, rugs, and more!
You can improve a senior’s ability to safely maneuver these areas with some slight adjustments to your residence. With a little planning and preparation, you can make your home safe for your loved ones to navigate.
Risk of Falling for Elderly
Even though you may be physically fit and independent, your risk of falling increases with age. The number of chronic conditions you have and the number of medications you take also affect your chance of falling. If you have more than one comorbidity, this increases your risk even more.
60% of accidental falls happen in the home every year. Approximately 20% of falls occur near but outside of the house. Places like your driveway, sidewalk, or garden are common fall risks.
Even in homes without stairs, 30% of adults still fall in their bedrooms.
The rate of deaths by falls for the average adult is 64 deaths per 100,000 falls. But among adults 65 and above, that threat increases to nearly a 30% death rate.
Ways To Fall-Proof Your Home: Room by Room
When your home is safe to navigate, it creates a healthier environment for everyone. Fall-proof homes can frequently mean the difference between an active, independent life for your elderly loved ones and a life confined to a nursing home.
Fall-Proof Your Stairs.
Keep your stairs free of the clutter that could create dangerous obstacles. Make sure your handrails are sturdy. Establish a good light source at the top of the stairs for maximum visibility. To accommodate anyone lacking ease of mobility, try installing a stair chairlift.
Fall-Proof Your Front Door.
Much like your stairs, the steps to your front door need to be free of clutter, stable, and well-lit. Installing a grab bar at the top of the steps will make it easier for anyone to lift themselves onto your porch. Access ramps are essential for those who have trouble walking.
Fall-Proof Your Driveway.
Upgrading your driveway with motion-activated lights not only looks impressive. But it can make a world of difference in your family’s safety. Designate a clear walking path, and keep the pavement as level as possible.
Fall-Proof Your Bathroom.
With all the wet surfaces in your bathroom, the risk of slipping should be obvious. Aside from keeping your floors dry, making good use of non-slip pads is a great idea. You’ll also want to install grab bars in your shower and tub to make entering and exiting safer.
Fall-Proof Your Bedroom.
Installing a grab bar can help you maintain your balance when getting in and out of bed. If you’re the type to roll out of bed at night, bed rails should do the trick! Keeping your bed low also reduces the risk of slipping and falling.
Fall-Proof Your Living Room.
Ensure your furniture is sturdy and won’t tip over easily when someone accidentally bumps into it while walking around the room. Add non-slip backing to your carpet or rugs. Secure your cables and cords. This way, no one gets snagged on them.
What Causes Falls in the Elderly?
As you age, your body doesn’t function quite the same way. You change in every way, from your coordination to your general health. The medication you’re taking for unrelated illnesses could have side effects that leave you more prone to falling.
Or, you may have come down with an illness that increases your risk for dizziness or shortness of breath. Even healthy older adults will have some complications as they age.
The most common causes of falls in the elderly are:
- Loss of balance. Poor equilibrium can develop even in otherwise healthy seniors. But illness and medication certainly contribute to it.
- Loss of strength. Muscle weakness is often present in the elderly, which leads to unexpectedly losing your balance when standing or walking.
- Loss of vision. Impaired vision (which could be from cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma, or other conditions) can cause difficulty seeing obstacles and poor depth perception.
- Low blood pressure. If your blood pressure drops below a healthy level, it could contribute to dizziness, loss of balance, and even fainting.
When To Call the Professionals
If you are worried about the safety of your elderly family members, consider hiring a professional. Doing all those home renovations by yourself may be tempting. But that can take you a lot of time and put your safety at risk in the process.
Hiring a professional may be justified if the equipment is complicated to install or requires extensive maintenance.
Home Clean Home provides fully comprehensive durable medical equipment services. Our DME Installation experts will fall-proof your home with top-of-the-line safety gear.
We will assess your home to determine what adjustments you should make. Then, our team will help you select the perfect equipment for your needs. Once everything is in order, we will haul it over and install it for you.
If you require assistance with equipment maintenance, we are more than happy to help. Should you ever need to remove it, we will take care of that too!
Falling is a serious issue. It can be life-threatening if you don’t fall-proof your home. Consider hiring Home Clean Home’s expert DME installation services if an elderly parent or loved one needs extra assistance around the house.
Call today to schedule a no-obligation assessment. 718 627 5781