Falling is a serious risk for seniors. Every year, one in three adults age 65 or older fall, and less than half may talk to their healthcare provider about their falls. Falling can cause severe injuries and even be responsible for being admitted into the hospital. It is important to take proactive actions to create a safe home environment to reduce you or your loved one’s risk of falling.
If you or your loved one take multiple medications, perhaps it’s time to review your medications with your physician or a nurse. Certain medications may have side effects that make you dizzy or disrupt your sense of balance. If you do have multiple medications, then exercising proper medication management is vital. Be sure to have a schedule to remind yourself when to take your medication, and find tools, like pill boxes, to assist you keeping track of when you took your last dosage. If you need help with medication management, talk with your physician about home care.
Keeping your Home Safe
Maintaining a safe home environment is key to preventing falls. Identifying problematic areas in the home will help you or your loved one remain safe at home. Here are some common tips for making your home safer:
- Lighten up dark hallways or pathways with nightlights
- Install grab bars for safely getting in and out of the bathtub/shower
- Remove throw rugs or at least secure them with non-skid pads
- Tape cords and wires in an out-of-the-way place
- Bring kitchen items you use most often further down to reduce reaching for them
- Keep your glasses close to your bed
- Install handrails for stairs or steps
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Being active and maintaining or improving your strength will help you keep your balance. We need our muscles to be strong, and keeping up with exercising is the best way to accomplish this.
Animals provide us with great comfort and joy, but if you have a small animal – like a cat or dog – be sure to know where they are when you are walking around your home. Keep small animals in your sight line to avoid falling over them. If you are unsteady on your feet, take extra precautions when walking your dog outside. If your dog pulls on the leash, consider asking a friend or neighbor for help walking your dog.