People who are 65 and older are at increased risk of a fatal or non-fatal fall in their home. As people age, they become more susceptible to accidents in the home. Fading eyesight, balance and disorientation problems, and memory loss can all contribute to the possibility of a fall or other home incident.
Here are a few safety tips to keep your loved on safe in their own home.
- Declutter. Removing possible hazards in the home helps prevent falls from tripping, stumbling, or bumping into non-essential furniture, scatter rugs, nicknacks, and anything else that could cause a serious injury.
- Have their vision checked at least once a year. Some insurance providers and Medicare/Medicaid only approve payment for visits every two years. Check your insurance for details.
- Keep cords from telephones, TV sets, fans or heaters out of walkways. Tuck them as close to the wall as possible and never have them extended across a room. Not only can the fall harm a person, but they could fall and hit their head on the corner of a piece of furniture.
- Keep everything off a stairway. Don’t leave shoes, books, or other items on the stairs to take up at a later time. People walking up or down stairs may not see what has been placed on the steps. Beware of carpeted stairs or wooden stairs that have been varnished. It is easy to slip on stairs when going down, if one is not careful. Not all stairways have guardrails, so at least placing a hand on the wall while carefully stepping down will help prevent a fall.
- During the day, keep window shades, curtains, and blinds open for optimal sunlight. At night, keep adequate lights on in the home until your loved one is safely tucked into bed.
- Make sure light bulbs are of adequate brightness and not burned out, especially in little used locations such as basements and attics.
- Install nightlights in bathrooms, kitchens, and hallways. You may want to consider keeping them on during the day if there is little light in the room or hallway.
- Add grab-bars to bathroom showers, tubs, or beside the toilet.
- Wear shoes outside and shoes or solid-soled slippers indoors.
- Keep a large-print copy of emergency numbers by each phone. Make sure the numbers are kept up to date.
Most aging Americans want to stay in their own homes. As long as proper care is taken to assure their safety, many are able to remain where they are familiar and close to friends and neighbors. With a few simple steps, many elders can remain in their home for many more years than they, or you, might expect.