If you are a caregiver, fall prevention will be an important part of your life…regardless of whether or not you have aging parents that are coming to live with you or if they still wish to live on their own.
So what I want to do is give you some essential information for how to made minor changes to either your house (if your parents are coming to live with you) or to their house (if they are staying put) to reduce the likelihood of a fall.
Secondly, I will introduce some other ideas that you may not have been aware that can be considered fall prevention steps.
As I researched this topic, this was one thing that I hadn’t thought of originally. But after looking into fall prevention, it is very important.1
The reason for the doctor’s visit is to see if you or your loved one are suffering from any ailments or conditions that could contribute to the possibility of a fall. Any type of balance or strength issues should be discussed with your doctor.
In addition, this is also a time to review your medications to see if any of your prescriptions could have as a side effect dizzy spells or similar symptoms. So a switch of medications may be one of the fall prevention steps you will need to undertake in order to have peace of mind for your loved one’s safety.
Adapting The Home
This is actually not as difficult as it sounds, because taking some fairly simple safety measures in each room of the house will provide for a far safer environment…and you don’t need to break the bank to do this.
I am going to start in the bathroom, because this is where most slips and falls actually occur, making it the one place in the house to focus your fall prevention efforts on. Here are some tips and ideas to assist you, as well as some of the safety equipment that help as well…
- Grab bars-these wall mounted devices enable the elderly to onto a secure mount as they get on and off of the toilet or in and out of the shower. They are easy to install and assist those with their balance or leg strength issues.
- Rubber mats-these anti-skid should be used on the bathroom floor as well as in the tub.
- A raised toilet seat-this enables seniors with mobility issues to have easier access to the toilet. They do not have to bend as far down to the seat…and this makes getting up that much easier. In addition, the arms along the side of the raised toilet allows someone to use their arms as well as their legs to lift themselves off the bowl.
- A shower bench-probably one of the scarier things for a senior with mobility issues is transporting into and out of the shower. This bench allows them instead to slide in and out of the shower effortlessly, and should definitely be high on your fall prevention checklist.
In addition to the obvious…things such as leaving a night light on and having a light with reach beside…one of the things you may wish to consider is a bedside commode.
The advantage is that this will allow you to go to the bathroom at the side of your bed…meaning that a potentially dangerous trip in the dark to the bathroom at night is unnecessary.
Other Tips and Ideas
- Avoid cluttering the hallways as they are narrow enough for your loved one.
- Install a night light in the hallways, especially if your senior will be passing that way to go to the bathroom at night.
- Consider a lift chair in the living room or bedroom, which will raise your loved one up and lower them from a sitting position so they can get up from a chair on their own.
- Make sure the carpets, especially area rugs, are skid-proof and tacked to the floor.
- Keep all cords to all electricval devices out of the walking path.
In addition, anyone seeking to be protected from falls should be asked to…
- Not walk in socks or floppy slippers.
- Wear a low heel or no heel at all.
By following the above safety steps, you can create a fall prevention plan which significantly reduces the possibility of a fall.
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