Easy Ways to Prevent Falls

The CDC reports that one in four older Americans fall every year. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death for people aged 65 and older. Common fall injuries include broken bones, head injuries, and hip fractures. When an older adult falls, this can also lead to emotional stress. Indeed, this can interfere with an older adult’s ability to stay healthy and independent, as well as safely live on their own. If you have an aging loved one, neighbor, or friend, keep reading to discover some easy tips to help them prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

There are several easy ways to make your loved one’s home safer. A safer living space can help prevent falls at home. This will allow your loved one to continue living independently and safely in the place they love most – their home.

1. Remove the Clutter

This is one of the easiest tips to prevent falls in the home. By keeping the home free of clutter, your loved one will find it easier to get around without accidentally tripping or losing their balance. Clutter can include stacks of paper and magazines, shoes, and toys on the floors, hallways, and stairs. Indeed, this tip is especially useful for aging adults that have vision impairments and may not see something on the floor or stairs.

2. Fix or Remove Tripping Hazards

To help prevent falls, it’s a good idea to regularly check for tripping hazards in the home. You can help check your loved one’s home by looking through every room, hallway, and closet for any potential hazards. This can include loose carpet, slippery rugs, or wooden floorboards that are not secured in place. By fixing or removing these hazards, you can help prevent your loved one from falling and injuring themselves. Depending on the injury, this could be serious enough to require an ER or hospital visit and months of recovery in long-term care.

3. Install Handrails or Grab Bars in the Home

Did you know handrails and grab bars are an effective safety aid for older adults? This can make your loved one’s home safer, which will give you peace of mind. Key areas of the home to install handrails or grab bars include the staircase and bathroom (next to the toilet and in the bathtub). If you are unable to set this up, you can hire an expert handyman to set these safety aides up for your loved one.

4. Wear Proper Fitting Clothing

It’s a good idea for your loved one to wear proper fitting clothes at home. It may be tempting to wear loose fitting clothes, but this can increase their risk for falls. Clothes that are too big or drag on the floor can get caught under their feet or furniture, thus causing a potential fall. 

5. Use Proper Lighting Inside the Home

It’s important that your aging loved one’s home has proper lighting that makes it easy to see in every room and hallway. If your loved one has trouble seeing due to poor lighting, this could lead to a serious fall. If your loved one needs to get up in the night, using nightlights in the bedroom and bathrooms makes it easier to see in the dark. 

6. Wear Shoes or Non-Slip Socks 

While socks are comfortable, they pose a risk for slipping on hard floors, such as in the kitchen and bathrooms. By wearing shoes or non-slip socks, older adults will be able to grip the floor more easily. This is important for maintaining their balance and thus, reducing their risk of falls.

7. Use Non-Slip Mats

It’s no surprise that floors become dangerous when they are wet from a spill or cleaning. For hard floors, consider using non-slip mats to prevent falls on these potentially slick surfaces. This includes bathrooms (i.e. showers or bathtubs), kitchens, and porches.

8. Live On One Level

When possible, it’s recommended for seniors to live on one level. Even with stair railings, there is a serious fall risk with climbing up and down stairs. If your loved one is not able to live in a single level home, encourage them to limit the trips they take up and down the stairs. It helps to have friends and family that can come over, who could help clean the upstairs of their home.

9. Get Up Slowly

When your loved one gets up from laying down or sitting, encourage them to do this slowly. This will help them gain their balance before they start walking. By doing this simple step, they can significantly reduce their risk for falls. This same advice goes for going up or down the stairs. Just take a breath and pause for a moment before moving.

10. Discuss Their Health Conditions

Encourage your loved one to talk with their doctor about their current health conditions. It’s important that they are honest about any issues they are having with their health, taking medications, or staying mobile. Their doctor will be able to evaluate their health conditions and offer recommendations for how to help reduce their risk for falls. By reducing their risk for falls, they will be able to maintain their independence at home.

As you can see, there are several easy tips to prevent falls. You and your loved one can discuss these tips, which is a great starting point to improve their home’s safety. After all, it’s important that your loved one can maintain their health and independence in a safe home environment for as long as possible. If your loved one is recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery, contact Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services today. We would love to help your loved one regain their independence and achieve their health goals through our short term rehabilitation, assisted living, skilled nursing, or outpatient therapy.