Step By Step: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Home
Lifestyle For older adults even a minor fall can lead to more serious problems. Our parents always made sure we were safe and secure—now it’s our turn to do the same for them.
When we think about our parents, the image that often comes to mind is the one we have from our childhood. They were a source of stability and security.
As our parents age, that role often reverses. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for adults aged 65 and older.
As our population ages, that number is on the rise. According to a recent report, the number of fall-related deaths for older adults has increased 127 percent from 1999 to 2011. The CDC reports one in three older adults fall each year, and in 2013 there were 25,500 fatalities as a result of these falls.
A fall can be a traumatic and scary event. Victims may suffer psychologically, fearing that another fall may incapacitate them permanently; they may stop participating in the activities they used to enjoy, including regular physical fitness, which is actually important in preventing falls.
The good news is falls are 100 percent preventable. Since falls usually occur in the home, they can be easily remedied so older adults can maintain their independence and continue to live healthy, active lives. Here are some easy solutions:
Keep common areas free of clutter including cords for lamps and electronic equipment
Make sure every room has enough light—nightlights are a must in bathrooms, kitchens and hallways
Stairways need sturdy handrails installed on both sides
Make necessities accessible and eliminate the need for using ladders, stools or chairs to reach items in high places
If stability assistance is required, provide a cane or walker