Fall Prevention Program for Seniors
Why Fall Prevention for Seniors is Important
At Visiting Angels®, we’re committed to helping seniors remain at home as they age, keeping them in the space where they feel safest, happiest, and most comfortable. That makes fall prevention an important part of our DNA.
Seniors are more likely to suffer falls than younger adults, with 1 in 3 seniors experiencing a serious fall every year. This is due to a number of risk factors that are more common among elderly adults, including:
- Decreased strength
- Poor coordination
- Limited mobility
- Reduced eyesight
- Hearing loss
- Stiff or painful joints
- Health complications
- Cognitive disorders
- Multiple medications
Seniors are more likely to suffer a serious injury when falls occur. In many cases, these injuries can have life-altering or life-threatening side effects.
Hip fractures are a particular danger. The recovery period for a hip fracture can take up to 12 months, may require transitional care, and comes with a significant risk of life-threatening complications. The vast majority of seniors never fully recover from a hip fracture, and many older adults lose their independence as a result.
The good news is that the vast majority of falls can be prevented.
Our Safe and Steady program can help reduce your loved one’s risk of falling at home—the most common location for slips, trips, and falls.
How to Prevent Falls at Home for Seniors
More than 75% of dangerous falls occur in or around the home. This means that most falls can be prevented by taking precautions at home.
There are some common risk factors for at-home falls, including:
- Taking four or more medications daily. Medications can cause loss of balance, disorientation, and drowsiness, especially when combined. Have a doctor review your prescription list annually.
- Experiencing a change in hearing ability. Hearing loss can result in dizziness. Set up an appointment to have your hearing checked if you suspect any issues.
- Experiencing a change in vision ability. You can’t avoid obstacles if you can’t see them. If you wear glasses, make sure they’re clean.
- Two or more falls in the previous 6 months. This is a major red flag that something may be wrong. Visit a medical professional to see if there’s anything that should be addressed.
- Ill-fitting slippers or clothes. Floppy slippers, large socks, bathrobes that touch the ground, and other loose-fitting attire can be a tripping hazard.
- Throw rugs on the floor or raised carpet edges. When moving around your home, you want the ground to be as smooth as possible to avoid being tripped. Thick rugs should be tacked down or even removed.
- Stairways without handrails. Stairs can often be difficult to navigate. If you don’t have handrails on all your stairs, install them, and if you have them, double-check that they’re sturdy and weight-bearing.
- Clutter in pathways. Various items such as shoes, cords, or pet toys can pose a safety hazard if they’re in walkways. Keep these high-traffic areas clear.
- Dark hallways and stairways. To avoid a fall, you must be able to see where you’re going clearly. Make sure adequate lighting is installed in your home—perhaps include night lights or LED strips.
Being aware of these common risk factors can help seniors and their family members address these issues, mitigate the danger, and drastically reduce the chances of a fall. Seniors and their concerned family members wishing to take additional steps to make an environment safer may consider doing the following:
- Put commonly used items on lower shelves. This reduces the need to reach upward and the possibility of losing balance.
- Move items off the floor. If any items on the floor need to be picked up, put them next to sturdy items that can be held on to.
- Add sturdy grab bars to walls.This is especially a good idea for bathrooms and bathtubs (and lay down non-skid mats).
- Choose chairs and sofas that are higher and have arms. Furniture with arms on them is easier to grasp in case of a fall. Additionally, furniture arms help lift you from the seat.
- Consider a cane or walker. If you have trouble walking on your own, consider adopting the use of one of these items to provide extra stability.
Our “Safe and Steady Fall Prevention Resource Guide” can help you identify risk factors in your loved one’s home and take steps to reduce the risks of suffering a fall.
This guide includes key information about:
- Physical, social, and emotional health impacts of falls by the elderly
- Environmental risk factors that increase the likelihood of falls at home
- Precautions you can take to eliminate fall risks from the home
- Design changes that can reduce seniors’ risk of an at-home fall
- Lifestyle changes that can further reduce fall risks for seniors
The “Safe and Steady” guide includes a list of easy home modifications you can make to reduce your loved one’s risk of falling at home. It also contains a 59-point home safety checklist.
Get Started with Visiting Angels
Our commitment to fall prevention extends to our home care services. Our caregivers can reduce your loved one’s risk of falls in a number of ways, depending on the type of home care we provide to your loved one.
With companion care, we can help your loved one maintain a safe and tidy home, and we can lend a helping hand with day-to-day tasks that may increase the risk of falls. If your loved one’s physical health puts them at high risk for falls, our personal care services can help with activities such as dressing, bathing, and mobility.
Ready to get started with our Safe and Steady fall prevention program? Contact your local Visiting Angels office!
Download our free “Safe & Steady Fall Prevention Resource Guide” today.