Preventing Falls at Home
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Best Ways to Prevent Senior Falls
Senior falls are one of the most common, harmful, and costly health events. For example, US hospitals witness up to a million patient falls a year, and spend around $14,000 on average caring for each fall. As doctors continue to develop strategies to address fall management and aid healthcare workers in making strides toward a more empowering and safe environment, at-home adaptations and strategies continue to grow and reflect these developments. In this article, we’ll discuss what fall risks are present for senior adults in their environments and the best ways to prevent senior falls from occurring in your home.
Fear of Falling
Many senior adults continue to have a regular fear of falling, not just in the outside world but inside of their own homes each day. This fear of sustaining a severe injury can affect many aspects of a person’s behaviors and daily life, motivating them to avoid activities such as running errands, walking, and other types of exercise. Many older adults also have this fear when indoors if there are any sharp corners or slick surfaces. They can also have a fear of falling if there’s a lack of present handles, friction surfaces, or soft furniture. Having this type of fear is highly common as you age and can often be distressing.
Any person can sustain a trip or fall. As a person ages, the fear of falling can grow to be a serious concern. You can worry about what may happen to you or a loved one in the event of a fall, even if a fall has never occurred before. In fear of a fall, you might cease doing some of the activities you love or lose the confidence you had in your abilities. This reaction is understandable and common. However, if you begin to constantly worry about the possibility of falling, this fear can keep you from having as active and fulfilling of a life as you might otherwise. By negating some of the most common fall risks, you can effectively retain a high quality of life.
While the fear of falling is common, especially as we age, there are some methods to consider for negating fall risks outside and inside of a home. As this fear can prevent you from experiencing a consistently high quality of life with regular distress and avoidance of activities, it’s important to know what some of the most common fall risks are and how to prevent them for yourself and your loved ones. This knowledge can be especially helpful if you feel powerless to control your fear of falling or to decrease fall risks. Some of the top fall risks are poor reflexes, eyesight, and hearing, medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or thyroid problems, rushed movement caused by incontinence, and household safety hazards.
Reflexes, Eyesight, and Hearing
Various physical states can cause an increased likelihood of sustaining a fall. Poor reflexes, eyesight, and hearing can all significantly contribute to a fall. You’re less aware of your surroundings and present dangers with poor eyesight and hearing. Then when a fall is imminent, slow reflexes can keep you from preventing it or even increase the severity of the fall you have.
Certain Medical Conditions
When you have one or more specific health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or thyroid issues, it can negatively affect your nerves, blood flow, and balance. A decreased balance ability increases your risk of falling and the number of falls you may regularly suffer.
Rushed Movement From Incontinence
Other medical conditions such as incontinence can also lead to an increased likelihood of a fall. When you’re rushing to the bathroom, you can have a lack of awareness and caution during your quick movements. You can run into an object, trip, or injure a foot without time to deflect.
Household Safety Hazards
Various safety hazards throughout a home can also lead to a fall. Every room in your house comes with different safety hazards, including the living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Slippery surfaces, sharp furniture pieces, and a lack of protection and support can increase fall risks.
Methods for Fall Prevention
There are various fall risks associated with increasing age and certain environments. However, for each of these possible risks you can face, there are different methods for fall prevention. With a few specific adaptations, behaviors, and renovations to your environment, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from enduring a fall or another severe injury. When it comes to negating these specific fall risks, some changes to consider implementing include adapting to a more open floor plan, engaging in regular physical activity, remodeling your bathroom for space and safety, and removing or changing your furniture and layouts.
Open Floor Plan
When you suffer from poor reflexes, eyesight, or hearing, you’re at a greater risk for falls. With a more open floor plan in your home, you can enjoy greater visibility from fewer walls and corners. Greater visibility and fewer obstacles prevent falls even if you have slower reflexes.
Regular Physical Activity
Staying physically active has endless benefits to physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Amongst these benefits is the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and thyroid issues. You also have more opportunities for physical activity with an open layout.
Bathroom Safety Remodel
When you have a medical issue such as incontinence that can cause you to regularly rush to the bathroom, you’re at a greater risk for a fall in your hurry. A few changes to your bathroom, such as safety bars, a bench, or a smart toilet can increase safety.
Furniture and Layouts
The furniture and layouts you have can affect fall risks. Maintaining walkways and rugs, and designing for safety and functionality can prevent injuries.
Prevent Senior Falls With Project Build
There are various fall risks and fall prevention measures to consider for you or a loved one. To explore how you can prevent senior falls in your home, connect with Project Build.