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

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

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The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

 

Understanding how good lighting in the right places helps prevent falls

 

One of the top ways to prevent falls in older adults is to make sure that their living space is always well-lit.  Being able to see clearly helps seniors maintain balance and avoid obstacles.

Updating lighting in key locations is a quick and inexpensive way to reduce fall risk and help seniors stay independent.

 

 

 

 

As we age, poor lighting situations that may not have posed a problem at a younger age are now a potential risk. These may include poorly lit corridors or rooms, or nighttime trips from the bed to the bathroom.

 

 

The physiological changes include:

 

  • Less light gets to retina (1/3 to 1/5 compared to younger people)
  • More sensitivity to glare
  • Slower adaptation to changes in lighting
  • Lack of contrast sensitivity, less fine detail
  • General yellowing that affects sensitivity to blue and violet color hues

 

To facilitate aging in place, there are many modifications that can help combat these changes, from the simple to the more complex.

 

First, it’s important to understand that more lighting does not necessarily mean better lighting.

 

Color temperatures, placement, and intensity all affect whether additional lighting is a benefit or hindrance. Improvements can be broken up into two applications: ambient lighting and task lighting.

 

 

Ambient Lighting

 

Since older adults have more sensitivity to glare and slower responses times to changes in lighting levels, it is important to provide even, consistent lighting in rooms and corridors. Experts suggest about 30 fc (footcandles) or 30 lumens/ft for these environments.

 

Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

 

  • Use indirect lighting to create a more diffused lighting source and prevent glare. Place lights close to the ceiling and ensure LEDs or bulbs are concealed from direct view. Avoid halogen bulbs which can easily cause glare.

 

  • Seek light sources with a color rendering of at least 80 to combat yellowing vision. Phosphor-coated LEDs can help provide a warmer color.

 

  • Even during the day, glare can be caused by direct sunlight through windows. Install blinds and curtains.

 

  • Be mindful of how lighting affects our natural rhythms and general well-being. Experts suggest higher blue light levels during the morning hours, slight intensity dimming in the afternoon turning to reddish light levels in the evening.

 

  • Too much light in the evening can disturb melatonin levels and disrupt sleep patterns, which is troubling for older adults already prone to poor sleep. At night, take advantage of nightlights and bounce lighting off the floor to illuminate a path instead of using brighter top-down lighting.

 

  • Lighting connected to motion sensors and ambient lighting levels are a great and inexpensive addition, especially at night to illuminate paths to the bathroom. Additionally, dimmers can provide extra control for any occasion and throughout the day, and they are inexpensive.

 

 

Task Lighting

 

Task lighting should supplement ambient lighting by providing more direct intensity to activities such as reading, cooking, eating, or sewing.

 

LEDs are particularly useful since they provide direct and intense lighting in a small and lightweight package while consuming very little power and generating little heat, compared to traditional bulbs.

 

Here are some suggestions for task lighting:

 

  • Consider swing-arm LED lights placed next to bed, tables, or reading chairs. Be careful to mitigate any potential glare by placing the light below eye level and focused on the task.
  • Install LED light strips under cabinets and over countertops.

 

 

 

Practical Lighting Solutions for Fall Prevention in Your Home

 

Wireless motion sensing lights

 

Sometimes seniors don’t remember to turn on the lights or feel they don’t need them. Removing the need to turn on the lights is a great way to make sure rooms, stairs, and hallways are always bright enough.

 

Wireless, stick-on or plug-in, motion-sensing lights make it easy and quick to automatically light up dim areas like stairs, long hallways, or deep closets. They could also be used as a night light on a bedside table.

 

Here are two excellent options:

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

For easy removal, use Command Mounting Strips instead of regular foam tape to attach the lights.

 

Touch Lamps

 

Arthritis and loss of finger flexibility and strength can make it difficult to turn regular lamp knobs. Seniors are more likely to use proper lighting if it’s easier for them to turn lamps on.

 

A touch switch let’s you change any regular outlet into a touch activated on/off switch. Use mounting strips to attach the sensor in a convenient place.

 

 

 

Westek 6603BC 150W 3-Level Touch Control Lamp Socket Dimmer, White

 

This plug adapter lets you convert any lamp (with metal) into a touch-sensing lamp that turns on and off just by touching the metal part.

 

 

Some customer reviews say that, with the plug adapter, the light could sometimes turn on by itself because of (normal) minor power surges. Using a power surge protector strip instead of plugging directly into the wall socket seems to help.

 

 

Automatic Night Lights

 

 

 

 

Regular night lights that plug into wall outlets are a great choice for bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

These automatic LED night lights are small, low-maintenance, and bright.  They will turn on automatically in low light and remain on until morning light.

Shop for nightlights.

 

 

 

Check Bulbs and Batteries

 

These lights are easy to find and to install, but it’s important to check batteries and bulbs every couple of months to make sure everything is still working.

 

Add a recurring reminder to your calendar. That way, you won’t have to try to keep these tasks in your head.

 

 

Bottom Line

 

These lights might use some extra electricity and batteries, but improved lighting is one of the simplest ways to reduce your senior’s risk of falling.

 

The “cost” of a fall, both to your senior and to you, is huge compared to the actual cost of maintaining a well-lit living space.

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Help for Low Vision

Macular Degeneration – What You Need to Know

Have a Smooth Recovery from Cataract Surgery

Melatonin Helps With Sundowning and Other Sleep Disorders

Aleve Direct Therapy TENS for Back Pain Review

Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

Blue Emu and Australian Dream – Which One is Better?

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

Easy Home First Aid Kit

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Review

Convincing Your Parents to Transition to Assisted Living

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

 

 

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