Falling: A Danger to Seniors that may be Preventable

Falling is the most prevalent cause of injury among Canada’s seniors. Around a third of the aging population will experience a fall at some point during their life. However, there are many ways to reduce the risk of falling, especially around the home. Keep reading for a few improvements you can make that may prevent falls now and in the future.

It’s the Details

Considering that 60 percent of falling accidents happen at home, it makes sense to make home a safer environment. This starts with removing hazards.

A few of the most easily fixable issues in many homes are loose cords, unsecured rugs, and inadequate lighting. Wires should be kept behind tables and placed out of your walking path. You can keep rugs on the floor where they belong with double-sided tape. Lighting is a very simple to upgrade, and night lights are an invaluable addition to any senior’s home.

Other potential risk factors to look for include stairs with no railings, a high-sided bathtub, and slippery flooring. Installing a handrail is not a difficult job, but it’s a small improvement that experts say can prevent a tumble down the stairs. With a few common tools, including a tape measure, stud finder, and carpenter’s square, you can add this layer of security to any interior stairs. If your bathtub has high side walls, a set of grab bars can prolong your independent bathing routine. However, it should be noted that a walk-in bathtub or flat-entry shower is usually safer. Dygnifyed recently reviewed some of the most popular walk-in tubs. Be warned that these are not cheap, but it’s an investment that might allow you your privacy for many years to come.

Flooring is a more in-depth renovation, but one you should take a closer look at if you plan to stay in your own home throughout your golden years. The Flooring Professionals reports that the top options for seniors are cork, carpet, and vinyl. Each of these is fairly low maintenance and able to absorb some impact in the case of a fall. They are less slick than wood and tile, especially when wet, making them a great choice if you have mobility or balance issues.

Just as important as making changes to your home is knowing where everything is. Take some time to position your furniture in a way that makes the most sense for your daily habits. For example, if you often walk through the living room, leave yourself a clear and unobstructed path. Once you set your path, keep it that way. An unfamiliar environment, clutter, and poor furniture and medical equipment placement can further increase your risk of having an accident.

Why Seniors are at Risk

External risks aren’t the only factor to consider as you age. Falling is also caused in part by declining health and mobility. Your physical condition can be altered by your activity level, medications, and genetics. Physical impairments, such as poor vision and low muscle strength, contribute to falls. If you haven’t already, talk to your doctor about what medications you take since some can affect cognition and slow your response time. You may also discuss whether it’s in your best interest to invest in a medical alert system so that you can call for help if you need it.

The vast majority of seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes throughout retirement. If you plan to follow in their footsteps, it pays to make a few changes to your environment. Adding support features, such as stair rails and non-slip flooring, can make living at home a great option.

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