One in three older Americans falls every year. One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. 2.8 million people a year are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. Fall Prevention and knowing how to make your home safer can significantly effect your lives.
If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible. Most falls are preventable, especially when you know the signs to look for or take preventative actions. Below are some common causes for falls:
- Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
- Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
- Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
- Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
- Chronic conditions: More than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
Fall Prevention Safety Tips:
- Clean Up the Clutter: One of the easiest ways to prevent falls is to remove clutter, loose items, and stacks of items throughout the house that may cause you to knock into them or fall into your walking path.
- Remove Tripping Hazards: Take a walk through your home or your loved ones home and check for long wires across the floor, loose floor boards, carpet that sticks up or runners, that may cause you to trip and either fall or cause lower back pain.
- Improve the Lighting; Hallways, staircases and bathrooms should be lit brightly. Make sure that there are not dimly lit bulbs or bulbs that are out. It is recommended to that for the elderly, to have nightlights installed as an additional safety measure.
- Wear Shoes not Socks: Socks may be comfortable to wear when your in the comfort of your own home, but wearing the wrong type of socks can be extremely dangerous. Wearing socks, especially on the stairs or wood floors can easily lead to falls and severe injuries. It is recommended to wear socks with a grip on the bottom, or shoes even when in your home.
- Non-Slip Bath: Bathrooms have the highest rating of slips and falls out of all rooms in a persons house. The slippery tile, bath tub and flooring serves as an easy and dangerous way to slip and fall. It is recommended that a bathmat is used in showers and bathroom to prevent slipping.
- Install Grab Bars: Grab Bars and Safety Rails provide safety, security, and stability while going up the stairs, getting on and off the toilet, or showering. Grab Bars can be easily installed into a variety of shower types and bathrooms.
- Take Your Time: One of the easiest ways to prevent falls is to take your time while walking, getting up and moving about. There is no need to rush. Many times, falls occur from being in a hurry and trying to move too quickly and the body cannot adjust.
Fall Prevention Aids:
- Patient Alarms: Patient Alarms are a vital aid for alerting caregivers when the patient or loved one needs help, or gets up out of their chair or bed.
- Cordless Bed Alarm Pad: The Cordless Bed Pad Alarm alerts the caregiver or family member when the patient or loved one moves off of the pad or gets out of bed.
- Cordless Chair Alarm Pad: Cordless Chair Alarm Pad with wireless monitor and pad enables you to keep the patients room quiet, while still alerting the caregiver. Signal travels up to 300 feet.
- Fall Prevention Call Button Pager: The Fall Prevention Call Button Pager is a stand alone personal paging system and includes two Call Buttons and one Caregiver Pager.
- Gait Belts: Gait Belts are designed to help reduce caregiver back injuries, and make transferring easier for the patient or loved one. Features multiple grip hands to provide superior support and leverage while transferring patients
- Bed Rails:
- EZ-Adjust Bed Rail: It can be used as a half-bed rail to get in-and out of bed – and extends to a full-size bed rail at night for full fall protection. Easily folds down out of the way when not being used.
- Bed Assist Bar: Medline bed assist bar provides help getting in and out of bed. Featuring a soft grip for comfort, storage pocket and added safety straps.
- Bed Cane: Stander Bed Cane is great for those who don’t need full-fall protection – but might need extra support in getting in-and-out of bed.
- Hospital Bed Rails: Hospital Bed Half Rails can be placed on the head or foot half of a fully electric hospital
- Security Pole: Our Stander Security Poles extend up to 10 feet tall and tension mount to your ceiling, helping you safely and securely pull yourself up.
- Grab Bars: Grab Bars are an essential item for all homes, regardless of age, to make your bathroom safer. Providing a safe, secure and stable handle to hold onto and pull yourself up with while navigating the shower, tub or toilet.