5 Steps to Fall Prevention for Aging in Place
Over time, it can become more challenging for our loved ones to live independently and age in place. This can be a stressful period, where the safety of our loved ones is a constant concern, and we strive to support their independence. In this article, we will explore 5 ways to enhance the safety of our loved ones, enabling them to age in place gracefully while providing us with peace of mind.
Eliminate Trip Hazards
A great first step to fall prevention is to remove any potential trip hazards and debris from the floors, including items like electrical cords, shoes, and books. To prevent slipping and falling while moving around, firmly secure rugs and carpets with non-slip mats or double-sided tape. Make sure there is unhindered access to high-traffic areas and pathways – this may require furniture needing to be rearranged.
Install Safety Equipment
To keep your home safe and secure, install safety equipment such as grab bars in bathrooms and stair railings in hallways. Grab bars aren’t like what your grandmother used to have – there are many decorative styles of 2-in-1 grab bars available now like a towel bar (link to plus towel bar) or shampoo shelf (link to plus shampoo shelf). Grab bars are a great way to provide additional support for those aging in place.
Call, video chat, or drop-in as often as you can to make sure they’re doing okay and don’t need any help with anything. Keeping your loved ones social is key to keeping them active and healthy. Make it a family activity so the grandkids can help with housekeeping tasks, or just spending time with them and having a conversation. Read our guide on how to start talking about falls.
A great fall prevention tactic is to ensure all areas of the home, such as pathways, stairs, door entries and common areas, are well-lit. This is necessary for safety and clarity, as a lack of illumination can lead to trips and falls. Additionally, bedtime should feature nightlights beside the bed, in bathroom, and in the hallways for visibility. For deeper insight on how lighting can improve balance in older adults the National Library of Medicine has conducted a study on the impact of proper lighting within the home. Not surprisingly, light can be used to reduced fall risks while not disturbing sleep. Read it here.
Balance and Exercise
Balance and exercise are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are many types of exercises that focus on strengthening the core muscles, which help with balance and coordination as we age. Walking and activities such as chair exercises, yoga, and Tai Chi are great options to get moving (and have lots of great resources and communities… even if it’s on YouTube to start).
Improving safety in the home doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember that any change you make is a good improvement, eliminates a fall risk AND can help keep your loved ones safer. We hope the 5 steps above give you some peace of mind, knowing that your aging loved one will stay secure and safe, even when living by themselves. If you are interested in learning more about fall prevention, checkout our checklist.