Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!

 

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Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. In fact, one out of every three seniors falls every year.

 

 

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Last year alone, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, but you can drastically reduce the chances of this happening to your loved one.

 

 

Why are Seniors at a High Risk of Falling?

 

Several factors contribute to the fact that seniors fall so much more frequently than younger people:

 

 

Lack of Physical Activity
Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance, and reduced flexibility.

 

 

Impaired Vision


This includes age-related vision diseases, as well as not wearing glasses that have been prescribed. 

Further reading: Help For Low Vision

 

 

Medications


Sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs, plus taking multiple medications are all implicated in increasing risk of falling.

 

 

Diseases


Health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis cause weakness in the extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.

 

 

Surgeries


Hip replacements and other surgeries leave an elderly person weak, in pain and discomfort and less mobile than they were before the surgery.

 

 

Environmental Hazards


One third of all falls in the elderly population involve hazards at home. Factors include: poor lighting, loose carpets and lack of safety equipment.

However, falls are not an inevitable part of growing older. Many falls can be prevented, by making the home safer and using products that help keep seniors more stable and less likely to fall.

 

 

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Preventing Falls in an Elderly Person’s Home

 

(Don’t Procrastinate – Follow These Tips Today!)

 

 

 

 

Caregivers can do several things to make the home safer for their senior mom or dad, and avoid those emergency room visits.

 

  • Install safety bars, grab bars or handrails in the shower or bath.

 

 

 

  • Install at least one stairway handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps.

 

  • Make sure stairs are sturdy with strong hand railings.

 

 

  • Make sure rugs, including those on stairs, are tacked to the floor.

 

  • Remove loose throw rugs.

 

  • Avoid clutter. Remove any furniture that is not needed. All remaining furniture should be stable and without sharp corners, to minimize the effects of a fall.

 

  • Change the location of furniture, so that your elderly parent can hold on to something as they move around the house.

 

  • Do not have electrical cords trailing across the floor. Have additional base plugs installed so long cords are not necessary.

 

  • Have your parent wear non-slip shoes or slippers, rather than walking around in stocking feet.

 

I like these slip resistant self adhesive shoe sole pads, which work on men or women’s shoes or slippers.

 

 

 

  • Keep frequently used items in easy-to-reach cabinets.

 

  • Keep the water heater thermostat set at 120 degrees F, or lower, to avoid scalding and burns.

 

  • Wipe up spills and remove broken glass immediately.

 

  • Use a grasping tool to get at out-of-reach items, rather than a chair or stepladder.

 

 

 

 

 

Tools and Equipment to Increase Safety

 

 

Monitors and Sensor Pads

 

 

Sensors work well for the bed, chair, or toilet. The pads electronically detect the absence of pressure, which in turn sends an electronic signal to the monitor setting off an alarm.

Used on a bed, the pressure pads can be under or on top of the mattress. They are very thin, so they do not disturb sleeping and are plugged into the monitor via a telephone type line. Chair and toilet sensors work in the same way.

 

 

 

 

There are also pad monitors, like this Floor Pressure Sensor Mat, that detect and sound an alarm if a person steps on the pad (detects pressure).

This type of pad can be used beside the bed, in a hallway or in front of a chair while the person is seated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Mats

 

 

 

Fall mats are used in areas where a person could be injured from a fall on a hard floor such as the side of a bed, by a toilet or in front of a chair.

They are cushioned floor mats of various sizes 1-inch or 2-inches thick with beveled edges. They cushion the fall and prevent injuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab Bars

 

Grab bars provide extra stability and assistance during transfers. They are typically installed in areas where a senior may need something to hold on to for added balance. Bathrooms are a common location for grab bars, since they can help seniors sit down and get up from the toilet and enter and exit the bathtub or shower safely.

 

Further reading and examples:

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

 

 

 

Use a Shower Chair and/or Transfer Bench

 

 

 

When getting in and out of the tub, transfer benches provide stability and help the caregiver get the elderly seniors in and out of the tub safely, without injuring the elderly person or the caregiver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When getting in and out of the tub, transfer benches provide stability and help the caregiver get the elderly seniors in and out of the tub safely, without injuring the elderly person or the caregiver.

 

Further reading:

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Buying Guide

 

 

 

 

Anti-Slip Mats

 

Install anti-slip mats on the bath tub or shower floor. The hard rubber material prevents the elderly person from slipping and provides stability.

 

 This Gorilla Grip Bath and Shower Mat features excellent gripping and fits any size bathtub.

 

You can also throw in your washing machine!  Wash on cold with gentle detergent (no bleach), and air dry.

 

 

Note that while the Gorilla Grip mat features hundreds of suction cups, textured and tiled floors do not allow for the suction cup to properly adhere to your surface, so this mat is recommend for smooth surfaces only. 

 

 

 

 

 

For showers, I recommend this Jobar Fast-Drying Bath/Shower Rug. 

It adheres really well to tile and textured shower flooring, and customers have washed it successfully in the washing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canes and Walkers

 

 

 

Canes and walkers help seniors feel steady on their feet. Make sure the mobility device you choose is the correct height for your elderly parent, and has rubber tip or other traction on the bottom, for safety.

Further reading:

How to Choose the Right Walking Cane

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socks, Shoes and Slippers

 

 

 

Wearing properly fitted, low-heeled, non-slip footwear for walking and transferring provides traction and is much safer than going barefoot or wearing normal socks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many socks and shoes are available with non-skid treads on the bottom to reduce slipping accidents. These Unisex Hospital and Homecare Socks pictured above are a good choice.  You also can find a wide variety of non-slip socks on Amazon.

 

For more safe shoe and slipper tips, read:  

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift Slings and Patient Body Lifts

 

 

 

 

Lift slings are used in conjunction with several caregivers or a body lift to move an elderly person who is unable to move themselves from bed to a wheelchair or chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 3 common reasons that caregivers may need a lift: if the elderly parent is too heavy to be transferred without assistance; to prevent injury to the caregiver; and to prevent the elderly person from injury or falling. 

 

Further Reading:

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Reading:

How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris, 3rd Edition

 

 

How to Care for Aging Parents, a One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial Housing, and Emotional Issues, is considered “the bible of eldercare”.  It is a clear, comforting source of advice for those who care for an elderly parent, relative, or friend.

This book is in it’s third edition, and fully updated with the most recent medical findings and recommendations. 

Read reviews.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Buying Guide

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Should You Install Bed Rails?

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

Caregivers Can Reduce the Risks from Heavy Lifting

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

How to Choose the Right Walking Cane

Help For Low Vision

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

Studies Prove Blackcurrant Seed Oil Helps Arthritis

10 Simply Fabulous Arthritis Aids

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