Aging in Place: Top Fall Prevention Care
By John Voket
According to the CDC, each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. In light of this, I am continuing our fall prevention advice this fall, tapping prevention resources to help keep those who have chosen to "age in place," as safe as possible.
In our previous segment, we took a look at some general winter hazards, and keyed in on some outdoor fall prevention advice. In this segment, we'll take it inside, focusing again on an informative checklist, from Home Instead Senior Care.
Their checklist at MakingHomeSaferforSeniors.com can help family and caregivers to determine if a senior’s home is safe from hazards that could jeopardize well-being and independence.
According to the checklist, some of the most important fall prevention questions to ask are:
Is there adequate light on basement stairways?
Are there sturdy handrails for the stairway?
Are the steps too steep or slippery?
Does the last step blend in with the floor?
Are the pathways cluttered?
Is laundry detergent in bottles or boxes too heavy to lift?
Has detergent spilled on the laundry room floor?
Does the senior have to carry baskets of laundry up and down stairs?
To address these potential hazards, and to help make your senior's home safer:
1. Increase wattage to allowable limits, and add overhead and wall lighting, if necessary.
2. Add at least one railing the entire length of the wall. Ideally, there should be a railing on both sides. Consult with a credible contractor to make sure he – or you – install a railing that is safe and up to code.
3. Add adhesive stair treads or a carpet runner. Check with department, carpet or home improvement stores.
4. Paint the bottom step a different color to better distinguish the last step from the basement floor.
5. If stairs become a dumping ground for items such as shoes, remove and organize in a closet or elsewhere in the basement.
6. Divide laundry detergents into smaller containers or bottles.
7. Encourage seniors to immediately clean up spills and wear shoes or socks with non-skid soles in the laundry room.
8. If possible, move laundry to the main living area.
Loved ones who worry that their aging in place seniors may still be at risk may be ready to consider hiring a caregiver companion, who can assist with many of those household tasks that seniors could be struggling to do.