Resources to Promote Fall Prevention and Safety
For older Americans, falls are a major cause of unintentional death and injury. In fact, every year, more than one in four people aged 65 and older fall, resulting in three million emergency department visits, more than 800,000 hospitalizations and 30,000 deaths. Fortunately, falls are not inevitable, and they are actually the number one cause of preventable injury-related death in adults 65+. As part of our efforts to promote senior fall prevention, we recognize that all parties involved – family caregivers, elderly loved ones and other members of the care team – play an important role in recognizing fall risk and taking the necessary steps to reduce it. We've created key tools and resources for the elderly and their families to learn about top reasons for falls and tips about what steps can be taken to promote safety and wellness.
What is Fall Prevention?
Fall prevention involves recognizing that the risk of falls in elderly people is higher because, as we age, we lose muscle strength and our reflexes slow. Elderly fall prevention begins with working to improve strength, balance and reflexes, but there is much more that can be done. Proactive measures like fall proofing your home can greatly reduce the risk of falling and the associated injuries.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Falling
If you have a senior loved one who has fallen in the past, that should be taken as a warning sign that he or she could fall in the future. Assess the risk by considering the following risk factors:
- Poor lower body strength
- Trouble with balance
- Foot issues
- Use of mood-altering medication
- New medications that could cause dizziness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Vision problems
Most of the time, falls happen because of a combination of risk factors. It’s important to talk to your loved one’s healthcare provider about these factors and ask about how you can mitigate the risk of falling. It might be time for an assistive device, like a walker or get a proper vision screenings and obtaining corrective lenses if needed.
How to Fall Proof Your Home
Did you know that over 75 percent of falls take place either in or near the home? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make a senior’s home safer and easier to navigate. Follow these helpful tips to fall-proof your loved one’s or your home.
- Check your steps to make sure they are not broken or uneven.
- Ensure that there is plenty of light, turned on with a sensor so that you won’t have to worry about coming home to a dark front stoop.
- Install handrails or a grab bar so that you don’t lose your balance while walking up the steps or opening the door with your arms full.
- Store commonly used items where you can reach them without using a step stool or stepladder.
- Get rid of throw rugs to avoid tripping or slipping.
- Clean spills quickly so that the floor does not become slippery and dangerous.
- Keep them free of clutter.
- Have plenty of light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Consider putting colored tape on the edge of the steps to make it easier to see them.
- Install stair treads on hardwood stairs to help with grip.
- If you only have one handrail, consider adding another one for stability.
- Keep a light within easy reach of the bed for better visibility at night, and a phone nearby in case of emergency.
- Clean up clutter, keeping a clear path from the bed to the bathroom, with nightlights along the route.
- Think about installing a bed rail, to make it easier to get in and out of bed.
- A non-slip grip mat in the shower or tub will help prevent slips.
- Grab bars by the toilet and tub will provide support and assist with balance.
- A shower chair and hand-held shower head can eliminate the need to reach or strain during a shower, reducing the risk of falling.
- Installing a walk-in bathtub allow for bathing in a seated or slightly reclined position, without the risks involved in climbing into the tub.
- There are also walk-in tub shower combinations that combine the low step-in height of a walk-in tub with the convenience of a built-in showerhead.
Elderly Fall Resources
At BrightStar Care®, we take a unique approach to decreasing fall risk by pairing our unmatched clinical expertise with key patient education resources to help and empower families. When you need help meeting the physical, mental and emotional needs of an older relative, trust BrightStar Care for excellence in home healthcare. We know that facing the challenges of aging can be difficult, so we work hard to deliver the right care for your loved one and to be a partner you can turn to for support.
Find a BrightStar Care® Location Near You
Looking for in-home care services or assisted living for your loved one or a reliable medical staffing partner for your organization? Our experienced local care team members are ready to help. Find a location near you, contact us online, or call 866.618.7827 to speak with a local care expert and learn more about how BrightStar Care offers A Higher Standard®.