More than 1.6 million older adults in the United States visit emergency departments for fall-related injuries each year. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths, according to NIH Senior Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with the MetLife Foundation published a prevention checklist to help those caring for senior parents identify and remove hazards that increase fall risk. Copied below is the CDC’s Q&A prevention checklist to help you prevent your senior parent from falling.
Q: When you walk through your senior parent’s room, do you have to walk around furniture?
A: Move the furniture so you create a clear path.
Q: Does your senior parent have throw rugs on the floor?
A: Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.
Q: Are there papers, books, towels, shoes, magazines, boxes, blankets or other objects on the floor?
A: Always keep objects off the floor.
Q: Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords (like lamp, telephone or extension cords)?
A: Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so your senior parent can’t trip over them. If needed, have an electrician put in another outlet.
STAIRS AND STEPS
Q: Has the stairway light bulb burned out?
A: Change the light bulb.
Q: Is the carpet on the steps loose or torn?
A: Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step, or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.
Q:Are the handrails loose or broken? Is there a handrail on only one side of the stairs?
A: Fix loose handrails or put in new ones. Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.
Q: Are there papers, shoes, books or other objects on the stairs?
A: Always keep objects off stairs.
Q: Are some steps broken or uneven?
A: Fix loose or uneven steps.
Q: Are you missing a light over the stairway?
A: Have an electrician put in an over-head light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Q: Does your senior parent only have one light switch for the stairs (only at the top or at the bottom of the stairs)?
A: Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. You can get light switches that glow.
Q: Are the things your senior parent uses on high shelves?
A: Move items in your senior parent’s cabinets. Keep things you use often on the lower shelves (about waist level).
Q: Is your senior parent’s step stool unsteady? If they must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to.
A: Never use a chair as a step stool.
Q: Is the tub or shower floor slippery?
A: Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
Q: Does your senior parent need some support when they get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?
A: Have a carpenter put grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.
Q: Is the light near the bed hard to reach?
A: Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.
Q: Is the path from your senior parent’s bed to the bathroom dark?
A: Put in a night-light so your senior parent can see where they are walking. Some night-lights go on by themselves after dark.
Other Home-Safety Tips
- Have your senior parent’s doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines that they are prescribed, along with over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can make your senior parent sleepy or dizzy.
- Have your senior parent’s vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase their risk of falling.
- Encourage your senior parent to wear shoes both inside and outside the house.
- Improve the lighting in your senior parent’s home. Put in brighter light bulbs. Add lighting to dark areas. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so your senior parent can see the stairs better. For example, use light colored paint on dark wood.
- Encourage your senior parent to exercise regularly. Exercise makes you stronger and improves balance and coordination.
- Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone. Put a phone near the floor in case your senior parent falls and can’t get up.
If you fear that your senior parent is at risk for a fall and you are unable to make modifications to their home, call Synergy HomeCare of Anaheim Hills for a care assessment and home safety inspection. Our home health caregivers can help reduce your senior parent’s fall risk by ensuring that your aging parent lives in a safe home environment.
Our trained caregivers can help your loved one work to prevent falls daily. Your senior parent may need some assistance staying mobile, and we can help them stay independent and reduce the risk of falling by encouraging light exercise, helping them connect with their doctor to review their medications and assisting them with the coordination of the above fall prevention tips.
Our caregivers can help your parent bathe and shower safely, and are also trained to provide full assistance with restroom use, all with utmost respect, professionalism and sensitivity to privacy. Call Synergy HomeCare Corona, Riverside or Anaheim Hills to help your senior parent avoid the risk of moderate-to-severe falls.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
Synergy HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at /agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25 . The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected] .