Elderly Fall Prevention Guide for Caregivers

Protect your aging parents with these elderly fall prevention recommendations. Be proactive and remove potential hazards.

Taking Precautions

Many caregivers involved in the elder care of aging parents don't realize how many fall hazards can be found in the common household until their elderly parent takes a bad fall and breaks a leg or hip and is hospitalized for months.

If you care for elderly parents in the home, fall prevention must also be taken into consideration in order to provide a safe and secure living environment for your loved ones

Here's an alarming statistic: nearly one in three seniors living in their own home or the home of adult children caregivers suffers from serious elderly falls at least once every year.

It should also be mentioned that nearly half the seniors who suffer from a serious fracture, such as a hip, pelvic or spinal fracture, never completely recover from the injury. Add to that medical complications created through immobility or bed-ridden conditions and almost 25% die within six months to a year following such an injury.

Can such statistics be reduced? Yes. Fall Prevention, with diligence and attention, such elderly falls risks to seniors may be alleviated or even prevented.

Check Your House for:

  • Loose rugs – make sure rugs are tacked down to the floor or purchase non-skid rugs. Better yet, get rid of the throw or area rugs. Rugs are a primary cause of falls for the elderly.
  • Too much furniture – Do you have to be an acrobat to get around your living room? Are toys or vases or statues or knick-knacks scattered throughout the home?
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  • Inside or outside stairs that might be difficult to navigate
  • An elderly-friendly bathroom - Does your Mom or Dad have something to hang onto in the bathtub, shower or around the toilet to help with stability?

Making Modifications for Elderly Fall Prevention

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to help prevent elderly falls is to make sure they get enough activity and exercise. Sedentary elders fall more often than those who stay as fit and as physically active as possible. Help your parent maintain his or her balance, strength, flexibility and coordination. Help Mom or Dad maintain as much independence as possible.

Feeling useless may lead to depression and lack of interest in daily activities, so try to make sure that you are offering the help and security your elderly parents needs, while at the same time encouraging him or her to do as much for themselves as possible.

Also be aware that medications and medical conditions may alter vision acuity, depth perception, or may cause dizziness and confusion. Speak with your aging parent's doctor about the side effects of the medication he or she is on and adapt the home environment accordingly.

Do you worry about Mom and Dad falling? Click here to write a story on what steps have you taken around the home to prevent falls.....

Create a Fall Prevention, User-Friendly Home Environment

Here are just a few of the things to look for in your home or your parent's home to ensure stability and safety and possibly reduce elderly falls. Then make modifications as necessary.

  • Check rugs and carpets throughout the house. Tack down curled edges and secure edges
  • Use only non-skid throw rugs
  • If you wax your floors, use non-slip wax and buff
  • Move trashcans or other objects on floor out of paths of travel • Repair loose or uneven floorboards
Elderly Fall Prevention

Stairs –

Whenever possible, avoid the need for the elderly parent to navigate stairways. Move your parent downstairs if at all possible. Short stairways benefit from ramps. Make sure handrails are accessible and secure!

Furniture –

  • Make sure wheels on furniture is in the 'locked' position and does not slide
  • Avoid furniture whose legs or design bulges into pathways
  • Adjust height of beds and chairs to help elderly parents get into and out of

Kitchens and Bathrooms –

Kitchens and bathrooms create special fall hazards. Take care to adapt these areas according to need and safety issues.

  • Install grab bars near toilets and in bathtub and shower stalls
  • Place non-skid or non-slip strips on floor near sinks, and in front of showers and bathtubs
  • Make sure shower curtain rods are secured into place. In the event of a fall, we all grab the nearest object. A shower curtain may help break a fall, but only if the shower rod is bolted or screwed into the wall and the clips attaching the curtain to the rod are sturdy

Additional Measures

Throughout the home, additional measures may be taken to ensure elderly-friendly environments.

  • Make sure the phone is accessible but that phone cords won't create a fall hazard.
  • Organize clothing, paperwork and supplies for easy access.
  • Install a grab bar in closets so your parent can get into or out of clothing or coats and have something to grab onto for balance when necessary.

Fall-Proof Your Home

Do whatever you can to reduce the risk of elderly falls in your home. Taking simple measures provides effective fall prevention in most scenarios. A few dollars spent now may potentially save thousands and serious injury down the line.

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Elderly Bathroom Safety

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Worry about Them Falling? What Measures are You Taking to help Prevent This?

Any ideas to look for around the house to prevent the elderly from falling?

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