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  • Writer's pictureAbbey Road Family Care

Fall Prevention: Easy Tips to Keep Seniors Safe

Falls pose a serious risk of injury. Prevent them with these simple measures, from reviewing your medications to making your home hazard-free.

How to prevent falls at home

As you age, fall prevention becomes increasingly important due to physical changes, health conditions, and the medications used to treat them, all of which can increase the risk of falling. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling shouldn't dominate your life. Instead, consider these six simple fall prevention strategies.

Schedule a Visit with Your Healthcare Provider

Start by scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider. To assess your risk and discuss fall prevention strategies, your provider may want to address the following:

Medications: Make a list of all prescription and nonprescription medications and supplements you take, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your provider can review them for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. They may consider weaning you off medications that cause drowsiness or affect your thinking, such as sedatives, antihistamines, and certain antidepressants.

Previous falls: Note the details of any falls you've had, including when, where, and how they occurred. Be ready to discuss near-fall experiences where you were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. These details can help your provider identify specific fall prevention strategies.

Health conditions: Certain eye and ear disorders can increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when walking. For instance, do you experience dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs? Your provider may evaluate your muscle strength, balance, and walking style (gait) to help determine the best prevention strategies.

Stay Active

Physical activity plays a crucial role in fall prevention. With your healthcare provider's approval, consider engaging in activities such as walking, water workouts, or tai chi—a gentle exercise featuring slow, graceful movements. These activities help reduce the risk of falls by enhancing strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity due to fear of falling, discuss this with your healthcare provider. They may recommend supervised exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can develop a personalized exercise plan to improve your balance, flexibility, and muscle strength.

Elderly gentleman going for a swim

Choose Sensible Footwear

Consider updating your footwear as part of your fall prevention strategy. High heels, floppy slippers, and shoes with slick soles can increase your risk of slipping, stumbling, and falling. Walking in stocking feet can also be hazardous. Instead, opt for well-fitting, sturdy, flat shoes with nonskid soles. Wearing sensible shoes can also help reduce joint pain.

Eliminate Home Hazards

Inspect your home for potential fall hazards and make it safer by taking these steps:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords, and phone cords from walkways.

  • Store clothing, dishes, food, and other essentials within easy reach.

  • Relocate coffee tables, magazine racks, and plant stands from high-traffic areas.

  • Promptly repair loose wooden floorboards and carpeting.

  • Immediately clean up any spilled liquids, grease, or food.

  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower and consider using a bath seat for added safety while showering.

  • Secure loose rugs with double-sided tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing, or remove them entirely.

Illuminate Your Living Space

Keep your home well-lit to avoid tripping over unseen objects. Additionally:

  • Keep a lamp within reach of your bed for nighttime use.

  • Always turn on the lights before using the stairs.

  • Ensure clear paths to light switches that are not near room entrances, and consider using glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.

  • Store flashlights in easily accessible locations for use during power outages.

  • Install night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.

Senior women using assistive device in shower

Utilize Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can also be beneficial, such as:

  • Handrails on both sides of stairways

  • Nonslip treads for bare-wood steps

  • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests

  • Grab bars for the shower or tub

  • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub, along with a hand-held shower nozzle for sitting while bathing

If you are seeking fall prevention services in Connecticut, we encourage you to contact Abbey Road Family Care. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to ensure your safety and well-being. By addressing potential hazards and implementing effective prevention strategies, we aim to help you maintain your independence and reduce the risk of falls. Please feel free to reach out to us at 203-571-8182 to discuss how our services can assist you or your loved ones. We look forward to the opportunity to support your health and safety needs.

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