Millions of people ages 65 and older fall each year, and one out of five falls cause serious harm, including broken bones or a head injury. Falls result in over 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year and is the leading cause of fatal injuries in older people. At least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures and 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways.
Some conditions that can increase the risk of falling include lower body weaknesses, a vitamin D deficiency, difficulties with walking and balance, use of medications, vision problems, foot pain or poor footwear, and home hazards. The CDC states that many risk factors can be modified to help prevent falls and other household accidents.
According to Louise Weadock, founder of ACCESS Nursing Services, “Falling down is not a random, uncontrollable act of fate. It occurs in predictable patterns, with recognizable risk factors among identifiable populations.”
Here are some Tips for Preparing Your Home for an Aging Loved Ones:
- Make Sure to Eliminate Slip Risks: Adding no slip strips to bathtubs and showers, applying non-slip wax on floors, adding non-skid treads on steps, and using rubber-backed bathmats are all ways to lessen the risk of falling.
- Make Essential Household Items Accessible: Replacing standard doorknobs with lever handles or replacing the toilet with a raised or high-profile toilet will help minimize the risk of falls and ensure confidence in elderly family members who still want to be independent.
- Create an Emergency Contact List: An easily accessible emergency contact list should be created for elderly family members. Information that should be included on this list are the phone numbers for the local police department, the nearest hospital, your family doctor, poison control and a reputable private nursing agency.
- Hire a Private Duty Nurse: Private duty nurses can significantly lessen the risk of failing or injury by offering 24/7 medical attention and in-home care. Many private nurses are specialized for specific disorders, diseases and illnesses and can create a personalized care plan, as well as offer daily support for strength and balance weaknesses, including walking down the stairs, getting in and out of the tub, etc.
For detailed information about preventing falls, read Best Practices for Fall Prevention on the ACCESS Nursing Services blog. ACCESS Nursing Services provides private duty nurses that deliver excellence in compassionate care. For more information visit our Private Duty Nursing page.