How to Make a Home Senior-Friendly

  • Are sturdy railings or banisters securely placed along each stairway?
  • Are stairs, halls, and exits free of clutter?
  • Are throw rugs eliminated or fastened down?
  • Are electrical cords in good condition?
  • Are nightlights placed in the bedroom-bathroom area and in the halls? Wiring should not be frayed or stripped. Do not run electrical wire under carpet. Keep telephone wires away from walkways.
  • Is furniture arranged to allow free movement in heavy traffic areas?
  • Are often-used items stored in spaces that are easy to reach?
  • Are panhandles turned toward the back of the stove when in use?
  • Are potholders used, not apron corners and dish towels, when cooking?
  • Are grease and liquids wiped up immediately after spilled?
  • Are cleaning fluids, polishes, bleaches, detergents and all poisons stored separately and clearly marked?
  • Are grab bars installed in the bathtub and shower and at the toilet?
  • Are non-slip rubber mats placed in bathtub and shower?
  • Is water temperature checked with hand before showering or bathing?
  • Is a first-aid kit available at all times?
  • Are medicines clearly labeled and placed where the person knows where they are?
  • Is a lamp or other light located within easy reach of the bedside?
  • Are hazardous tools and firearms kept locked up?

Causes and Risk Factors of Falls

Many Possible Causes

Falls don’t “just happen,” and people don’t fall because they get older. Often, more than one underlying cause or risk factor is involved in a fall. A risk factor is something that increases a person’s risk or susceptibility to a medical problem or disease.

As the number of risk factors rises, so does the risk of falling. Many falls are linked to a person’s physical condition or a medical problem, such as a chronic disease. Other causes could be safety hazards in the person’s home or community environment.

Risk Factors

Scientists have linked a number of personal risk factors to falling.

  • Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors.Older people with weak muscles are more likely to fall than are those who maintain their muscle strength, as well as their flexibility and endurance.
  • Your balance and your gait — how you walk — are other key factors.Older adults who have poor balance or difficulty walking are more likely than others to fall. These problems may be linked to a lack of exercise or to a neurological cause, arthritis, or other medical conditions and their treatments.
  • Blood pressure that drops too much when you get up from lying down or sitting can increase your chance of falling.This condition — called postural hypotension — might result from dehydration, or certain medications. It might also be linked to diabetes, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, or an infection.
  • Some people with postural hypotension feel dizzy when their blood pressure drops. Other people don’t feel dizzy, even if their blood pressure drops a lot when they get up.
  • Your reflexes may also be slower than when you were younger. The increased amount of time it takes you to react may make it harder to catch your balance if you start to fall.
  • Foot problems that cause painful feet, and wearing unsafe footwear can increase your chance of falling.Backless shoes and slippers, high-heeled shoes, and shoes with smooth leather soles are examples of unsafe footwear that could cause a fall.
  • Sensory problems can cause falls, too. If your senses don’t work well, you might be less aware of your environment. For instance, having numbness in your feet may mean you don’t sense where you are stepping.
  • Not seeing well can also result in falls.One reason is that it may take a while for your eyes to adjust to see clearly when you move between darkness and light.
  • Other vision problems contributing to falls include poor depth perception, cataracts, and glaucoma. Wearing multi-focal glasses while walking or having poor lighting around your home can also lead to falls.
  • Confusion, even for a short while, can sometimes lead to falls.For example, if you wake up in an unfamiliar environment, you might feel unsure of where you are. If you feel confused, wait for your mind to clear or until someone comes to help you before trying to get up and walk around.
  • Some medications can increase a person’s risk of falling because they cause side effects like dizziness or confusion.The health problems for which the person takes the medications may also contribute to the risk of falls.
  • The more medications you take the more likely you are to fall. People who take four or more prescription drugs have a greater risk of falling than do people who take fewer drugs. You should check with your doctor if you think your medications are causing dizziness or unsteadiness. Your doctor can tell you which drugs, including over-the-counter medicines, might cause problems. Do not change your medications on your own.

What a Fall Might Mean

Be sure to talk with your doctor if you fall, as well. A fall could be a sign of a new medical problem that needs attention, such as an infection or a cardiovascular disorder. It could also suggest that a treatment for a chronic ailment, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia, needs to be changed.

Most Falls Happen at Home

Although falls can happen anywhere, well over half of all falls happen at home. Falls at home often happen while a person is doing normal daily activities. Some of these falls are caused by factors in the person’s living environment. For instance, a slick floor or a poorly lit stairway may lead to a fall.

Other factors that can lead to falls at home include

  • loose rugs
  • clutter on the floor or stairs
  • carrying heavy or bulky things up or down stairs
  • not having stair railings
  • not having grab bars in the bathroom

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

source http://nihseniorhealth.gov/

All about falls

Risk Increases With Age

Many people have a friend or relative who has fallen. The person may have slipped while walking or felt dizzy when standing up from a chair and fallen. Maybe you’ve fallen yourself.

If you or an older person you know has fallen, you’re not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling — and fall-related problems — rises with age.

Falls Lead to Fractures, Trauma

Each year, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths.

Fractures caused by falls can lead to hospital stays and disability. Most often, fall-related fractures are in the person’s hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle.

Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury. They are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence, among older adults. Most healthy, independent older adults who are hospitalized for a broken hip are able to return home or live on their own after treatment and rehabilitation. Most of those who cannot return to independent living after such injuries had physical or mental disabilities before the fracture. Many of them will need long-term care.

Fear of Falling

Many older adults are afraid of falling. This fear becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven’t fallen. It may lead older people to avoid activities such as walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities.

If you’re worried about falling, talk with your doctor or another health care provider. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help you improve your balance and walking and help build your walking confidence. Getting rid of your fear of falling can help you to stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls.

Tell Your Doctor If You Fall

If you fall, be sure to discuss the fall with your doctor, even if you aren’t hurt. Many underlying causes of falls can be treated or corrected. For example, falls can be a sign of a new medical problem that needs attention, such as diabetes or changes in blood pressure, particularly drops in blood pressure on standing up. They can also be a sign of problems with your medications or eyesight that can be corrected. After a fall, your doctor may suggest changes in your medication or your eyewear prescription. He or she may also suggest physical therapy, use of a walking aid, or other steps to help prevent future falls. These steps can also make you more confident in your abilities.

Ways to Prevent Falls

Exercise to improve your balance and strengthen your muscles helps to prevent falls. Not wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses when you walk, especially on stairs, will make you less likely to fall. You can also make your home safer by removing loose rugs, adding handrails to stairs and hallways, and making sure you have adequate lighting in dark areas.

Falls are not an inevitable part of life, even as a person gets older. You can take action to prevent falls. Your doctor or other health care providers can help you decide what changes will help.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

source http://nihseniorhealth.gov/

Getting help after a fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living.

The risk of falling increases with age and declining muscle function reduces the ability to get up. If an older person is unable to get up off the floor after a fall, the risks of any fall are far greater because of the complications that can ensue from lying on the floor for a long time—for example, pressure sores (often exacerbated by unavoidable incontinence), carpet burns, dehydration, hypothermia, pneumonia, and even death. The high proportion of seniors not transferred to the hospital, the inability to get up has a poor prognosis in terms of injury and recovery following a fall. Lying on the floor for a long time is thus one of the most serious consequences of a fall.

Studies show over half of fall reports described the senior being found on the floor, and most falls occurred when the person was alone. Of those who fell, most were unable to get up after at least one fall and many had lain on the floor for an hour or more.

Statistics show difficulty in getting up is associated with age, mobility restrictions, and severe cognitive impairment. For the elderly who fall and are unable to get up on their own, the period of time spent immobile often affects their health outcome.

A significant number of seniors fear falling. Falls that do not result in injury can still have a detrimental impact on health and well-being. Elders report that fear of another fall results in loss of confidence and self-imposed restriction of activities, thereby increasing the risk of falls. Care providers need better understanding of the perceptions of older people to provide acceptable support services.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

12 Tips to Avoid Falls

Wear shoes and slippers that have non-slip soles. Avoid wearing socks only – they might cause you to slip.

  • Be extra careful if your bathroom floor becomes wet. If your bathroom has handrails, hold onto them when getting up or down. Make sure non-slip strips are in your bathtub.
  • If you wear a bathrobe or nightgown, be sure it is short enough to avoid tripping on.
  • Don’t leave any clothes, magazines, bags, or other objects lying around on the floor – you might trip over them.
  • Place loose electrical cords or telephone wires out of walking areas.
  • Before you go to sleep, place your glasses within easy reach. Get out of your bed or chair slowly. Sit up before you stand.
  • Sit in higher chairs or chairs with armrests – they’re easier to get in and out of.
  • Remove or secure any loose rugs or mats.
  • Be sure hallways and staircases are well-lighted. (If the hallway or staircase in your building is not well-lighted, call the superintendent.) When walking up or down stairs, hold onto a handrail or use a cane.
  • Wipe up any kitchen spills as soon as they happen.
  • Place lamps in dark areas. If you walk into a dark area let your eyes first adjust to the dark.
  • If you do fall, DON’T PANIC! Try using a stable chair or some other piece of furniture to help you get up. If you cannot get up, try calling out for help. If you can, slide or crawl to the telephone or front door and call for help.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

Tips Information provided by Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Preventing Falls at Home

One in three adults over 65 years old falls each year. For those over 75 years old, one quarter of the falls result in serious injury. Falls are the immediate reason for 40% of nursing home admissions. Falls are the sixth leading cause of death among people over 70 years old.

Survey your living space towards removing the problems. In order to accomplish this you have to be willing to take deliberate action to change things in the home to make it a safer place for you and/or your loved one. Corrective action can take the form of removing a potential hazard, or adding a safety device to improve a problem area.

Make sure that all floor surfaces are non slip surfaces. Floors and stairs should be covered with tacked down carpeting. Area rugs; from the throw rug variety to fancy orientals pose a hazard to the less sure footed. You want to remove as many changes in surface grade and textures on the pathway as you can on the floors, and especially in the walkways. This may mean picking up a family heirloom, or covering a beautiful wood floor. Similarly, you want to keep the walkways clear of obstacles. Obstacles include things like foot stools, shoes, magazine racks, tray tables, and waste baskets.

The lighting should be carefully evaluated. Is there sufficient illumination in the walkway? Are light switches placed so that one doesn’t have to enter or exit a room in the dark? Consider night lights to light the way from bed to bathroom, and certainly consider leaving a bathroom light on during the night.

Are there grab bars in the places they are needed in the bathroom, by the toilet, in the shower, and in the bath tub? These can be purchased at any medical supply store. Your pharmacy home improvement store may even carry the items you need. The bath/shower should have a non slip surface installed, if one is not already in place.

Do you have a shower chair? A shower chair allows the user the luxury of a shower without the fear of falling. It can afford someone the ability to shower in private with minimal assistance getting in and out. An extension on the shower head is also a good item to purchase and easy to install. If you are using the shower chair without assistance in and out of the shower, it is recommended that you make sure that the water controls are accessible while you are in the sitting position. That way, you can shut the shower, dry off, and then exit from the shower stall or bath tub.

Rearrange the closets in your bedroom so that you can avoid climbing and reaching. Again, make sure that light switches are placed so that you don’t have to enter or exit a dark room. Try to avoid slippery, satiny fabrics on the bed. They may look and feel nice, but they can become a slippery hazard in the middle of the night when you make that half sleeping visit to the bathroom.

These modifications to the home can allow older and infirm individuals to remain in the comfortable surroundings of their own home in a dignified fashion, while adding to their safety and comfort.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

Fall Prevention among Seniors

Falls are among the leading causes of death and injury in the older population. Families can greatly reduce the risks of accidents by ensuring that their older loved ones have the proper medical care and support.

Many people experience problems with their sense of balance as they get older. Suggest to your loved one that they set up an appointment to see his/her doctor if this is a concern. The doctor can determine if your loved one has a serious balance problem involving vertigo, viral or bacterial ear infections, Meniere’s disease, chronic dizziness, or drug interactions.

Some helpful tips on how older adults can remain independent and reduce their chances of falling
are:

  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance and that the exercises become more challenging over time.
  • Ask your loved one’s doctor to review the medicines he/she is taking, both over the counter and prescription to identify medicines that could cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Have your loved ones eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update his/her glasses to maximize vision.
  • Make your loved ones home safer by, reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, add stair railings, and improve the lighting in the home if needed.

Your loved one may benefit from having someone, like a homemaker/companion who can help them clear their home of unnecessary clutter that can cause falls and serve as a second set of eyes and ears to keep safe.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

Reference: www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety

Fall Prevention Safety Tips

  • Remove obstacles in the house that could cause
    tripping- everything from small floor rugs to objects on the floor like an over-sized vase or magazine stand.
  1. Install handrails and lights on staircases, with
    light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  1. Install shower and tub grab bars in the
    bathroom, around the toilet and the tub.
  1. Place no-slip mats on the shower floor and
    bathtub.
  1. Paint doorsills with a different, highlighting
    color to avoid tripping.
  1. Put on hip pads if you’re at risk for falls.
  1. Make home lighting brighter, but prevent glare.
  1. Have your vision checked often and regularly.
  1. Ask the doctor to review your medication
    regularly.
  1. Start exercising regularly, especially tai chi
    or yoga to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles and joints.
  1. If you can’t stand comfortably, exercise in a
    chair.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

  • Source:  www.parentgiving.com

How to Prevent Falls in the Home

Talk to your doctor about falls prevention. Have regular vision and hearing tests.

  • Take prescription and over-the-counter medications correctly . Keep a medication record and review it regularly with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your medication makes you dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Install proper lighting throughout your home. Pay special attention to stairs (with a light switch at both ends) and bathrooms. Use night-lights in the hallways, particularly between the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Keep your floor and stairs free of clutter. Avoid the use of scatter rugs.
  • Be sure to have at least one handrail (preferably two) on all stairways and steps in your home. Ensure handrails are securely attached and in good repair.
  • Check that stairs are in good repair and are slip resistant. If any stairs are broken, have them fixed promptly. Add a strip along the edge of each step in a contrasting color to make it easier to see or use reflective anti-skid treads.
  • Take the same precautions for outdoor steps. In addition, arrange to have leaves, snow and ice removed on a regular basis. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes, boots and slippers should provide good support and have good soles. Avoid loose slippers or stocking feet.
  • Install grab bars in all bathrooms, by the toilet and in the bathtub or shower. It’s a good idea to have two bars in the tub, one on a side wall and one on the back wall. If you need extra support, consider a bath seat or bench so you can have a shower sitting down.
  • Use a rubber mat along the full length in your tub, and a non-skid bath mat beside the tub.
  • Use walking aids and other safety devices for extra safety. If you use a cane or a walker, check that it is the right height and that the rubber tips are not worn. Install stainless steel prongs (ice picks) on canes for safe walking in the winter.

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, Contact Us Here  or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help you.

Avoid Falling during Night time

Many seniors suffer from fall and slip accidents at night and there are many reasons why
this happens. Slip and fall accidents at night is the reason why seniors who
stay indoors still end up with broken hips or head trauma and land at the hospital.

Those who live with seniors or have senior loved ones who live in their own should be
aware of techniques to prevent slips and falls so that these seniors can still
live full, healthy, and longer lives.

The causes why the elderly have slip
and fall accidents at night and the ways to prevent them:

  1. Poor or inadequate lighted rooms, stairways, hallways, and bathrooms.

Solution: If the senior lives with you, you
should check your home and accept the fact that your home might need a slight
makeover to make it safe for the elderly even at night. For example, you can
install night lights on those accident prone areas in your home.

You can also consider adding railings and bars on your hallway so that it is safer.
Also you can add bars inside the bathroom near the toilet seat or you can buy
mobility aids that are for bathroom usage. This is so your elderly loved one
will have something to hold onto when they try to sit on or get up.

  1. Even when there is adequate lighting at night, slip and fall accidents can still
    happen if there are carpets, throw rugs, or mats that are loose, have curled
    edges, or have bulges on them. When your loved one goes to step on these they can
    trip and lose their balance.

Solution: See to it that your carpet has a no
slip backing to prevent it from getting loose or slipping when the senior steps
on it.  An alternative would be to remove the carpet or throw rug altogether as a safety measure or have wall to wall
carpeting.

  1. Many seniors forget where they put their things and this is quite risky at night.

Solution: Leave a large but lightweight
flashlight at the bedside table near the senior so that they can use the light
first before trying to sit up on the bed at night. To prevent a slip and fall
injury, you should make the senior aware of the possible side effects of the
medicines they are taking and tell them.

  1. Our feet have less traction on the floor which is also another reason why slips and
    falls happen in the home.

Solution: Encourage your elderly loved one to
wear socks or slippers with traction. These should be placed near the bed along
with the flashlight so that whenever they want to get up at night, they can
wear the socks or slippers as a slip prevention tool.

Lastly, provide a walker for y our senior that they can use to prevent slip and fall
accidents as they try to make their way around the house even at night. Walkers
are a class of mobility aids that have helped seniors for decades to keep their
independence by allowing them to walk with supports.

Source:
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid=1750

To reach one of our SafetyWatch team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-330-7767. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more!