According to the United States Centers of Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults 65 and older.
So what can you do as a caregiver or as an older adult yourself to prevent these falls?
In this post, I will share how you can establish a fall prevention program that keeps older adults injury-free as much as possible.
Let’s delve right into it.
How To Establish A Fall Prevention For Your Elderly Loved One
Most people fall on their way to the bathroom. Thus as a caregiver, it may be important to establish a toileting schedule where you ask the older adult whether they have a need to go to the bathroom.
Offer your assistance during these scheduled bathroom breaks.
If your elderly loved one is not particularly excited about have scheduled bathroom breaks encourage them to ask for help when they do need to go to the bathroom.
If your elderly loved one has limited mobility and/or is bed-bound, consider a bedside commode.
Safety in the Bathroom
Keep your bathroom nice and safe by using items like:
- Bathmats- these add friction to the shower and bathtub and avoid dangerous slips.
- Shower chairs- so that your elderly loved one can sit safely during a shower/bath time.
- Bathroom rails that they can grab onto in the bathroom.
Your fall prevention program should also include safety all around the house.
Another place falls easily occur is the kitchen.
To promote independence, it is important that you encourage your elderly loved one to get involved in as many household activities as he or she wants.
It is important however that you encourage them to ask for help in places like the kitchen.
Place mats on the kitchen floor to promote add friction and decrease the likelihood of falls.
Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible.
The edges of rugs in common areas should be trimmed or should have no frays as these can cause fall as well.
Keep walkways in the house lighted- even at night! Use night lights in your elderly loved one’s bedroom and in the path that leads to the bathroom.
In the bedroom, it may be helpful to lower the bed.
An older adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is likely to fall because they may be confused as to where they are going.
In addition to the fall prevention program components above, it may be helpful to constantly reorient older adults with dementia to their surroundings.
You can say things like “There is a staircase here so watch your step” or “The floor is slippery. Hold on a minute while I clean that up.”
If it is possible, a bedroom on the first floor is great for an older adult with dementia to prevent accidents that involve the staircase.
- Keep their eyeglasses within reach.
- Keep assistive devices such as walkers and walking sticks within reach.
- Consult with vision and hearing specialists if needed.
- Keep furniture in the same position. If you switch furniture around, it is important that you reorient your elderly loved one until they get used to the new arrangement.
- A loss of electrolytes can lead to confusion. It is therefore important that your elderly loved one is well hydrated and nourished.
- Look into whether your elderly loved one needs an instant alert device such as Life alert so that they can call for help immediately they fall.
Closing Thoughts- Implementing a fall prevention program
Whether you are a family caregiver or a caregiver with an agency like Green Tree Home Care, it is important that there is a fall prevention program in place.
In this post, I have shared how you can prevent falls at home for your elderly loved one. I suggest that you print out this post and use it as a guide to design your own written fall prevention program.
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