Whole Home Blog

Fall Prevention Awareness Week - Keeping Loved Ones Safe

Posted on September 22, 2014 by kim

You may not realize this, but falling is a serious health risk among older adults. Each year, roughly one out of three Americans over the age of 65 experiences a fall. For adults over the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations. These emergency room visits and hospitalizations result in $30 billion a year being spent in the U.S. treating older adults for the effects of falls. 

Not only are falls expensive to treat, but the pain and injury they cause can have negative effects on a person's quality of life and drastically reduce an older adult's independence. Once a first fall has occurred the apprehension level rises because we are afraid it will happen again.  We also become concerned with the actions others might take to help us.  All of this can lead to further physical decline, depression, isolation and feelings of helplessness.

Fall Prevention Awareness Week is important because we want to send the message to families that falling is not a natural part of aging, and in many instances, falls can be prevented.  

So what can be done to prevent falls? Plan Ahead. Begin with a conversation between the senior and caregivers. Listen to one another. Do not assume you know the answers. Be open with one another. Ask what challenges the person is facing each day with the daily activities. Ask them to show you how they do certain routine activities. Include any nurse or therapists involved in the daily health care plan.  This may take a few conversations to build or rebuild trust.  It is important to be open-minded to options and possibilities. 

Families can also take steps to make their home safer. Some of the most common locations for falls are doorways, cluttered hallways, areas with heavy traffic, bathrooms and stairs. Simple steps to prevent in-home falls include removing throw rugs or ensuring floor coverings are secured with a non-skid backing and installing lighting at the top and bottom of staircases. It’s also important to secure electrical and phone cords out of walkways, and to remove tripping hazards like paper, boxes, toys and clothes from stairs and walkways.

For additional support and to increase safety for seniors who may have already experienced a fall or have been injured, home modifications may become beneficial. For example, grab bars can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms, doorways can be widened, and step-free entrances can be constructed. 

The important thing to remember is that falling does not have to be a part of getting older. There are easy steps that can be taken to prevent falls, and to make your home, and your loved one's home a safe place.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider calling one of our Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS). We offer free in-home consultations and we come prepared with a Fall Prevention Checklist. Let us help guide you in the best direction to ensure safety and prevent falls. Give us a call at (513) 482-5100.

 



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