Every year, one out of every three adults age 65 or older will fall. It is a problem that can cause serious consequences including broken bones, head injuries, bruising and more. This is a big problem and needs to be addressed. How many falls occur each year? A lot.
The chart below shows that falls are the occurrence of falls among the elderly, including fatal and nonfatal injuries. (http://www.learnnottofall.com/content/fall-facts/how-often.jsp)
Families can greatly reduce the risks of accidents by ensuring that their older loved ones have the proper modifications in their homes. Taking care of your family and home is certainly important and safety is a key component to creating a warm home where your family can thrive.
Here are the top 3 hazards found in homes of the elderly.
1. The Bathroom
The smallest room in the house can be a dangerous place. With all the water, sharp edges and slippery flooring, the bathroom can be a very dangerous place, especially for an elderly person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom, and almost 14 percent are hospitalized. The most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. Installing safety features, such as grab bars, shower chairs, non-slip mats, and raised toilet seats, in the bathroom is key to reducing the risk of falling.
We have a tendency to enjoy getting stuff out but not putting it away. This ends up creating clutter on the floor. It’s best just to keep things clean and tidy and you won’t have to worry about tripping over it. The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers and magazines, especially from hallways and staircases.
3. Throw Rugs
Throw rugs are a safety hazard that leads to unfortunate mishaps, and is a huge contributor to causing falls. They have a tendency to bunch up and it’s easy to trip over them. Throw rugs can actually be worse than stairs in terms of danger. Stairs have a handrail, and people are more likely to be cautious going up and down stairs. With a throw rug, you’re walking quickly to get the phone, or you’re up at night to go to the bathroom in the dark and you catch your toe on the corner and you fall.
A room-by-room assessment should be conducted to identify and remove potential fall hazards and to modify the environment to maximize safe, functional mobility. Let’s keep our loved ones safe!