According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors, with more than 2.8 million fall-related injuries treated every year. Keeping your loved one safe from falls should be a major priority. Here are the top four falling hazards in the home and what you can do to keep your favorite senior safe.
1. The bathtub and shower.
Getting in and out of the tub or shower can be hazardous for many seniors. These quick fixes can dramatically reduce the risk of falls:
- Install grab bars on the walls surrounding the tub or shower.
- Place nonstick appliques on the shower or tub floor.
- Install a liquid body wash dispenser on the wall.
- Install a hand-held shower head.
- Use nonskid mats on floor surfaces that can get wet.
2. Rugs, carpet, and cords.
Throw rugs, loose carpeting, and wayward cords are serious falling hazards. Remove throw rugs, and make sure any carpet is free of stretched spots and wrinkles. Secure larger area rugs to the floor with double-sided tape. Secure loose cords next to the wall with velcro straps.
3. Poor lighting.
Our eyes change as we age, making it difficult to perceive depth and see in dim conditions. To make your senior’s living space safer:
- Make sure that stairways and hallways are well-lit.
- Install a nightlight in the bedroom and bathroom.
- Place a touch lamp next to the bed.
- Place brightly colored tape to the face of steps and along any uneven transitions from hard flooring to carpeting.
Furniture can pose a falling hazard to seniors with mobility challenges. To make living areas safer:
- Remove any unnecessary or flimsy furniture.
- Remove caster wheels from furniture.
- Make sure chairs, couches, and the bed are easy to get into and out of.
- Keep floor lamps out of the way.
- Choose a sturdy coffee table without sharp corners.
Remember, seniors’ eyesight, hearing, and balance aren’t what they used to be. Taking a few minutes each time you visit your loved one to minimize falling hazards will go a long way toward keeping her safe.