According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, falls are the number one cause of injuries in people over the age of 65. Many elderly people break bones when they fall due to decreased mass density. There are some things that can be done to prevent or reduce the chances of falls in the elderly.
1. Make sure the elderly person has the proper foot ware. By avoiding high hills and assuring comfortable foot ware, many falls can be prevented.
2. Ensure that any side effects due to medications have been addressed. Many medications cause dizziness and instability in coordination. If the elderly person has these effects from their medicine, they should discuss it with the doctor asking for ways to treat the side effects or for new medications without the side effects.
3. If the elderly person is suppose to wear any leg braces, orthopedic shoes, or use a walker, make sure they have these devices and are using them. These can help with unsteady gate or balance issues.
4. Make sure the flooring is free of cracks, tears or loose boards. If there are problems with linoleum tiles or wood flooring, fix it so the elderly person will not fall.
5. Make sure carpeting is tacked down and has no tears. Also make sure throw rugs or door mats are taped down with tape or Velcro. The best advise is to do away with any throw rugs or mats.
6. Encourage the elderly person to do mild exercises, such as chair aerobics.Without use, anyones muscles get weak. By continuing to use muscles, some falls can be prevented that were due to weakness.
7. Check for electrical cords on the floor or ones that can fall off a table or low counter and be tripped over. Make sure the cords are secured in some way so they will not fall and cause the elderly person to trip over them.
8. Encourage the elderly person to move boxes and storage bins onto a high service. These items need to be off the floor if possible and stored somewhere like the top of a dresser or table.
9. Ensure adequate lighting in the home. Poor lighting can cause falls when items on the floor are not seen. Install a light sensor for when the elderly person comes home to a dark house. They will have some light to pave the way until a house light is turned on.
10. Make sure stairs have handrails for support. If necessary, install carpet gripping tape for sure footing when climbing down stairs. if the elderly person is unable to climb the stairs, stair chair lifts can be installed, although they are rather expensive.
There are many other things that can be done to reduce or prevent falls in an elderly person’s home. Research how to make your loved ones home as safe as possible.