One of the most dangerous things that can happen to any senior or elderly individual is a slip and fall. While they can happen to anybody, seniors are more susceptible to balance loss and breaking bones due to a fall. In fact, slip and falls can even be deadly for seniors in some cases. If you’re a senior who struggles with balance, muscle strength, or osteoporosis, you’re at risk for a dangerous slip and fall. However, there are many things that you can do, and your loved ones can do, in order to help prevent an accident from happening. Keep reading for tips on how to prevent a slip and fall in a variety of situations as you age.
Appropriate Housing Accommodations
The first thing that should be addressed when it comes to avoiding slip and falls is an individual’s overall housing situation. Is the house a multi-story home with several flights of stairs? Are there only bathtubs in the home? What type of flooring is most common throughout the home? Are there lots of rugs? There are a variety of risk factors in a home that can cause plenty of problems for mobility and increase the chance of a fall. Stairs and bathtubs are very high risk areas for individuals who do not have the best balance or who struggle to maintain average muscle strength. Opting for a single level floor plan that will eliminate the need for stairs and having a step-in shower in at least one bathroom, instead of a tub, will help to reduce the chance of a fall within the home. Take time to evaluate possible risks and address them with alternative solutions.
Wet surfaces and polished floors can get slippery very quickly. It doesn’t matter how good your balance is, there are some situations that are simply hard to avoid. The best thing you can do in this case is to improve surfaces so that they are no longer slippery. This can include runners on wooden floors with adhesive pads underneath them, or grips in the shower to provide friction. Another option could be to completely replace flooring to help improve the traction of the surface for older individuals.
Railings and Grab Bars
Railings and grab bars are some of the best options available to help a senior keep their balance. Having a variety of these available in high-risk areas, like the bathroom, can help an individual to maintain their balance and help them to overcome any muscle deficits that make moving about challenging. For example, let’s say your loved one has peripheral neuropathy in their feet. If they opt to take a bath, having handles securely bolted into the tile can help them to raise their feet to an appropriate height to get in and out, as well as help them maintain their balance if they slip and fall against the side of the tub.
Along with muscles weakening, an individual’s vision also degrades with age. That’s okay, because there are many ways to address both spacial and visual issues. Making sure a space has proper lighting can help remove any disorienting shadows that could lead to a fall, not to mention that it can help to improve overall mood, especially if an individual is struggling with depression. Add additional lighting in stairwells, hallways, and entrances in order to help reduce falls and make sure light switches are in easily accessible locations.
Consider Health Concerns
While a lot of potential fall scenarios can be addressed by making simple modifications to a living space, there are other problems that can be addressed with the help of a doctor. Regular visits to the general practitioner and eye doctor can eliminate or help reduce the risk of falls because of a health concern. Resolving any eye conditions and working to reduce muscle atrophy, among other conditions, can not only help to improve a senior’s quality of life, but it can also help to improve balance and strength.
These five tips can help seniors to avoid slip and falls, and here at Garden Hill Assisted Living in Columbus, we work hard to provide a safe, yet homey, environment for all our residents. Come tour our facility today for further information and to get started in the process of calling Garden Hill home.