Every 11 seconds, a senior American needs treatment in the emergency room for a fall. More worrying is that every 19 minutes, a senior will die as the result of a fall.
While this can be life changing for some people, it shouldn’t stop seniors from staying in their homes, especially as many accidents are preventable.
Being independent can feel very important as it gives us a feeling of self-worth. For many older people, independence is about staying in their own homes. The thought of moving to residential accommodation can be hugely distressing. After all, we fill our homes with our most treasured possessions and memories. So, having to leave them behind can be devastating and actually isn’t always necessary.
The Risk of Falls
But dangers of falls are a reality no one can ignore. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over 2.8 million injuries are treated in hospitals each year. In some cases, these injuries result in more than 800,000 hospitalizations and sadly, over 27,000 deaths, almost double since 2000.
But falls should not be treated as simply an inevitable part of getting older. With some simple and practical adjustments and fall prevention programs and support, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced.
Being Safe at Home
In 2014 alone, older Americans experienced 29 million falls causing seven million injuries. But there are some simple things that seniors can do to reduce the chance of a fall.
Remove Trip Hazards
Trips and falls can easily happen. But they are also easily avoided by:
- Removing any trailing electrical leads running across the floor.
- Removing rugs, clutter or other trip hazards on the floor.
- Installing extra handrails on stairs and in bathrooms.
- Improving the lighting around the home.
- Rearranging furniture so you can get around more easily.
Safety Around the Home
Just a few small changes can make each room in your home safer.
- In the kitchen: Always move pan handles away from the front of the cooker, to avoid knocking them over. It’s also important to keep a close eye on the cooker when it is on and use a timer as a reminder that something’s cooking. Anything spilled on the floor should be cleaned up immediately.
- In the bathroom: To help you get in and out of the bath safely, install a hand rail and use a bath seat and non-slip bath mat.
- In the bedroom: You can easily trip up when first getting out of bed, so make sure none of the bed sheets are trailing on the floor. Also, it’s helpful to have a bedside lamp or torch within easy reach in case you need to get up in the night.
Happy at Home
Most people who live on their own never have a serious accident. After all, getting older doesn’t have to make you stop doing the things you love. Or enjoy your home. By just taking a few extra measures, it’s possible to enjoy your independence for much longer than you might expect.
About the author:
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.