Slips and falls have become a very serious problem in the senior community. Falls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the hospital and result in nearly 3 million injuries a year and 27,000 deaths. What is most terrifying is that 25 percent of seniors age 65 and older slip and fall every year. The more that seniors, and their caregivers can do in order to prevent slips and falls, the better as even a seemingly small slip can have some serious consequences. With this in mind, here are a few easy tips that can help seniors avoid falls all together.
Start With Their Footwear
The right footwear can go a long way in helping any senior avoid dangerous falls. Seniors should always be wearing proper footwear, even inside the home. Shoes should always be comfortable, flat and have plenty of support in the foot bed and around the ankles. Shoes should also have lots of traction on the bottom to help prevent slips.
Set Seniors Up for Success
Most falls actually happen at home, or in environments where seniors feel comfortable. This is why the home is the first place to look when it comes to fall prevention. There should always be a clear pathway in the senior’s home and their living spaces should be free of clutter. Falls are most common in the bathroom, so non-slip mats and handrails should always be in place in the bathroom.
Invest in Proper Lighting
This is one trick that may seem small, but that can go a long way in preventing falls inside the home. Proper lighting can make all of the difference for many seniors. In addition to adding a few brighter bulbs and a few lamps around the home, make sure to install some nightlights in the hallways and bathrooms. Many seniors get up in the middle of the night and even more seniors tend to wander. Make sure they can see where they are going so they don’t accidentally fall.
Make Sure Seniors Are Exercising
One of the many reasons that seniors are so prone to falls is because they have bone and muscle weakness. The more exercising seniors can do, the better. Strong legs and a strong core can really help prevent falls. Daily exercises like walking, swimming and strength exercises, along with anything to improve coordination and balance can all be a great asset to any senior.
Be Prepared for Balance Issues
There are a number of outside factors that can cause a senior to lose their balance, but there are also many internal problems that may cause your loved one to lose their balance from time-to-time. A majority of seniors actually suffer from vertigo, which causes dizziness and can lead to falls, and there are many medications that make seniors more prone to lightheadedness and slips as well. If you are prepared for these things ahead of time, you can effectively help stop falls before they happen.