Fall Risks and What I did to Help My Father

by Tanja
(Biloxi, MS)

After my Dad had a scary instance of almost falling down at the grocery store, I got to thinking about it. If I were older and had limited vision or mobility issues, what would constitute an elderly falls risk to me? Those throw rugs on the floor? The linoleum or tile floor in his kitchen or bathroom that can get slippery when wet?

Getting into or out of the tub or shower? These are just a few of the issues that I think concern many older adults and can lead to lack of hygiene, increased immobility due to a fear of falling, and more.

Fall risks for my Dad could increase depending on mental or physical changes, mobility, and side effects caused by medications the doctor says. Home hazards such as loose carpeting, floorboards, or throw rugs are also a major contributor.

Electrical cords and phone cords should be tucked under rugs or against baseboards to reduce fall risks. I have taken the action I hope will reduce elderly falls, slips and accidents in the bathroom or kitchen through the use of non-slip rubber mats.

Physical weakness, instability, loss of balance, or mobility caused by numerous conditions including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis also contribute to falls also according to our doctor.

For my elderly Dad, grab bars, raised toilet seats, handrails, or shower or tub chairs will help reduce the risk of falls. They certainly cannot hurt.

For me, I looked at my Dad’s living environment with a critical eye. I looked at it from different levels as well as based on what I know and have seen on his physical limitations, visual impairment.

I decided not to take any chances. I took the time and made the effort to create an environment that enhances his safety and security and reduces fall risks. I knew if I did not take the time now the guilt would be enormous if something happened and I had not done anything.

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wife is 78
by: Anonymous

Removed clothes hamper from bathroom & put grab bar across from toilet & one on bath tub. Removed rug & only put it down after in shower. Showed her to use both hands getting in/out of tub with me being there.

I do physical therapy with her 2X a week about 1 hour long each. Have stationary recumbent bike, ankle weights, hand weights etc. Have walker for around house & use port-a-potty at night.

No falls since October & seems more alert since starting this. Takes a lot of time but I'm retired. Get help from physical therapy if you need it ie what to do or for them to provide. jim

Changing Shoes to Lower Fall Risks
by: Anonymous

My mother has always liked to wear flats, but now, I think they’re a fall risk.

I encouraged her to try wearing tennis shoes with a definite and well-defined pattern on the sole to increase traction and stability in the house.

She grumbled at first, but admitted to me the other day that she felt safer and more stable.

Discussing Fall Risks with Grandmothers' Doctor
by: Julie

I went to the doctor with my grandmother and asked about her medications. We talked about side effects and interactions that might increase her fall risks.

Her doctor even switched one of her medications out for another one that had fewer side effects.

Nightlights for Elderly Fall Risk Prevention
by: Anonymous

I placed nightlights in every bedroom, bathroom, and hallway in my parent’s house. I also made sure that bedside lamps were within reach of the bed.

This has helped my elderly parents feel safer, more secure, and confident if they have to move about at night.

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