“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —Dalai Lama
Elders at home are highly prone to accidental fall injuries and it increases drastically with growing age. Loss of bone density with time, lack of control and fall in nervous system coordination, eye sight also takes a hit and all these can result into fatal slips and falls.
The statistics related to fall and accidental injuries are astounding!
➔ Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions,
➔ And 40% of all nursing home admissions,
➔ 40% of those admitted do not return to independent living,
➔ 25% die within a year.
A very harmless fall, that might not have affected the senior citizen physically might be a bad blow to his / her emotional health. The acceptance of limited or no mobility and vulnerability to falls can cause a senior’s self confidence to dip drastically. Caregivers can work on their living areas and participate in their activities in a safe way, creating an eco-system around the seniors that keeps them safe.
- De-Clutter living spaces and surroundings
Keep everything around the seniors clean and tidy. Let there not be items left on the floor, passage or walking area, especially not on the staircase. If there are young children in the house, this should be a routine for all caregivers to be adopted hourly to ensure de-cluttered spaces for seniors.
- Eliminate Tripping Hazards
Things to watch out for – Furniture items that might be in the way, loose cables and wires especially laptop or phone charge wires, loose carpet or creased carpets, unsecured throw rugs, and wooden floorboards or nails that stick out of the floorboards are some common tripping hazards. Look out for these things daily, because one minor fall could result into serious injuries and a hospital visit.
- Avoid Stairs
We all know walking down the stairs puts extreme and additional pressure on knees. Hence this must be avoided at all costs. Seniors are most likely to fall when using the stairs. If not, then try and limit the usage of stairs.
- Install Grab Bars and Handrails
Many safety devices have been invented for home installation. Most are for several areas of the house so that elderly can move around safely within the home premises. Safety devices such as grab bars and handrails make it easier for the elderly to move around the house. Provide a handrail along staircases passages, hallways, bedroom walls, and grab bars in the bathroom and toilet.
- Keep the House Well-Lit
Ensure that the part of the house seniors live in is well lit. Not being able to see what is in front can most certainly lead to accidents. Especially with the aging and their sense of sight.
- Make the Floor Non-Slippery
Wet floors often lead to slips and falls. So as soon as their bath is done, ensure the area and the flooring around them is dry and clean.
- Keep Assistance Devices Accessible
Walkers, walking sticks, wheelchairs should be kept at an accessible distance. Seniors who need caregivers to assist them for movement especially need to ensure that their devices are close by.
- Monitor Medications Regularly
With multiple medications, fading memory and eyesight it is important to have someone monitor what they take and when. In case they suffer side effects from any medication, it is their job to report back to the family / doctors immediately for a change of medication and safer alternatives.