A rug not fastened to the floor. A slippery surface in the bathroom. A small pet running around.
Each of those are common in the homes of many older adults, and all are among the hazards that can lead to falls in seniors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year 36 million older adults suffer a fall, which are a leading cause of injuries among those 65 and older. Falls, or the fear of falling, can also be the source of mental health concerns for older adults, who may withdraw from beloved activities if they’re concerned about suffering a fall.
What To Know About Home Safety For Older Adults
Many falls occur in the home, a place where older adults might let their guard down. But taking just a few minutes to scan the home for common fall hazards can help keep you or a loved one safe. It’s particularly important if you’re caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – some of the physical effects of the disease can lead to an increased fall risk.
Whether you’re an older adult, or a caregiver, here are a few things to look for, or consider, in different rooms in the home:
Living Room / Bedroom Fall Risk Checklist:
- Remove loose cords and wires or fasten them to baseboards or the floor where possible.
- Remove unnecessary clutter like piles of newspapers, magazines, laundry, etc.
- Remove or limit end tables or other small pieces of furniture in well-traveled areas.
- Ensure all light bulbs are bright enough and working, and keep spare bulbs on hand in the home.
- Wear non-slip footwear, particularly if the home has hardwood flooring.
Staircase Fall Risk Checklist:
- Check that handrails are securely fastened to the wall, and none are loose.
- If stairs are carpeted, ensure the carpet is securely glued to the floor with no lumps or loose areas.
- If stairs are hardwood, install non-slip adhesive strips.
- Keep the stairs well-lit at night and, as with the living room/bedroom, have spare light bulbs on hand.
- While they can be expensive and require an installation process, consider a chairlift.
Bathroom Fall Risk Checklist:
- Install non-slip mats or pads in the shower or tub.
- Consider installing a walk-in shower or tub if able.
- Have a waterproof stool or chair for the shower for ease and comfort.
- Install weight-bearing grab bars or railings for assistance getting up and down.
- Install nightlights for increased visibility in case the bathroom is needed overnight.
Outdoors Fall Risk Checklist:
- Avoid flip flops and sandals that can be loose on your feet. Proper sneakers or other footwear with firm soles are best.
- Make sure any steps that lead to the front door, street or other area are secure and aren’t uneven or loose.
- Keep the yard or property clear of debris, including tools or items like rakes, hoses, fallen branches etc.
- If you live somewhere with a cold winter climate, keep kitty litter or a melting substance on hand to use on walkways and sidewalks.
Prestige Senior Living Is Here To Help
If you or a loved one is concerned about falling, our teams here at Prestige Senior Living are here to help.
We have a free guide to Fall Safety and Prevention you can download right here.
You can also join us on Thursday, March 23 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time for a free fall risk webinar hosted by Adrian Cagigas, a certified athletic trainer and expert on fitness for older adults. In the webinar, he will offer expertise on the physical factors that can lead to falls, fitness routines older adults can use to help build strength, and advice on fall-proofing the home.
Click here to learn more and to sign up for the free webinar.
At Prestige Senior Living, fall safety is at the heart of everything we do. Our fitness classes help residents build and maintain strength to help counteract the deterioration of muscle mass that comes with aging.
Meanwhile, our apartments include safety measures like walk-in showers/tubs with non-slip mats, grab bars in the bathroom and emergency call buttons.
For more information about how we help protect our residents, contact the community nearest you.