At-Home Fall Risks For Seniors

September 6, 2021 | BY PHS Staff

Falls are the top cause of accidental injuries among seniors over age 65, with six in 10 falls occurring in the home. Elderly fall prevention starts with discussing fall hazards at home, an important consideration especially where mobility and balance issues are involved. Make sure all family caregivers are aware of trip hazards to prevent unfortunate accidents. The best way to ensure no gaps in care occur, especially when you can’t be there, is to hire in-home care in Martinsburg. For example, here at Preferred HealthStaff, we offer homemaker services that can assist seniors in tasks that often pose a fall risk, such as laundry, making meals, changing bed linens, and vacuuming.

The places in the home that pose the most trip hazards include:

  • Stairs
  • Bathroom
  • Living room
  • Bedrooms
  • Garden and patio areas

Many things can contribute to trip hazards, such as insufficient lighting, structural obstructions, cluttered walkways, and slippery surfaces. But these don’t have to exist. With just a few minor modifications, a senior’s home can become a safe place for them to reside day in and day out. From placing non-skid mats near the bathtub and installing grab bars near the toilet to removing area rugs and placing extra lighting in stairwells, there are many things you can do to ensure their safety as they age in place.

Top Causes of Falls

There are many contributing factors that increase the risk of falling in the elderly.

  1. Decline in Physical Ability. Because adults become less active with age, they suffer from decreased muscle strength and bone mass, as well as loss of balance and coordination, marked by reduced flexibility.
  2. Impaired Vision. Age-related eye diseases can make it hard to detect trip and fall hazards, such as thresholds and steps.
  3. Medications. Some medications can throw off a senior’s balance, increasing their risk of falls. Side effects from medications like sedatives, anti-depressants and cardiovascular drugs can include drowsiness, dizziness and low blood pressure.
  4. Chronic Diseases. Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease are just a few of the conditions that can lead to weakness in the extremities, cognitive impairment, poor grip strength, and balance disorders, points out Aging Care. In addition, failing physical health can boost their risk of not only falling, but also an inability to respond to trip hazards and adequately recover from those falls. It can be tough for seniors to sense hazards within the environment due to nerve damage that may cause numbness in the feet.
  5. Surgical Procedures. Surgeries such as hip and knee replacements can weaken already-compromised elderly people, reducing their mobility.
  6. Environmental Hazards. Environmental hazards in the home can also lead to falls, such as poor lighting, areas of disrepair, loose carpeting, and slick floors.
  7. Behavioral Limitations. Any individual’s risk of falling is defined by their lifestyle and behaviors. What types of activities do they tend to engage in? What level of physicality is needed for those activities? What is their willingness to adapt their routine to better ensure their own safety? For example, doing laundry can pose a great level of exertion for seniors, particularly when they have to haul a heavy basket up and down a flight or two of stairs. They may refuse to add a stair chair to their home or wear non-skid footwear; perhaps they are reluctant to ask for help. Failure to modify behaviors in the interest of their own safety is a big factor when it comes to elderly falls.

By working with your senior loved one as well as senior care services who may visit the home, it’s possible to create a safe and secure home environment that minimizes the risk of falls.

Contact Preferred HealthStaff

Rest assured, our senior home care in Martinsburg can ensure the safety of your loved one thanks to our many homemaker and personal care services. To learn more, contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.