As seniors spend more time at home, many are approached with the quandary of how to stay safe from the potential of a fall. According to research compiled by the National Council of Aging, “falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.”
Thus, with such a high volume, it’s imperative for seniors, home health aides, and caregivers to take the necessary precautions to protect elderly individuals from a fall. The following will offer some guidelines to create a fall-preventative environment for seniors while they shelter in place.
Light the Way
For many elderly individuals, vision is imperative for moving safely through their home. Not being able to see a well-lit path is a major qualifier for a slip and fall. Thus, make certain that the elderly individual has a well-lit interior, with easily accessible light switches. This should be throughout the house, but especially in areas where there are steps, stairs, and inclines. For stairwells, you will want to have a prominent light switch near the bottom and at the top of the stairs.
Rethink Rug Decorations
A throw rug may be a beautiful decoration; yet, for seniors, it can be a future trip hazard. A senior could easily lose their footing on an unaffixed rug. Thus, if there are any throw rugs or small area rugs on major walkways, you might want to consider removing them for the time being.
Tidy Up On A Regular Basis
To maintain a safe shelter at home for seniors, it’s important to keep the space free of clutter. This one is particularly hard, as many people are spending more time in their living quarters than ever before. Keeping the home space tidy may feel like a never-ending task, but it is necessary to prevent slip and falls.
Do whatever you can to remove clutter when it occurs. The goal is to have a clear walkway that is free from any potential trip hazards. This can include, but are not limited to: unused shoes, clothing, or errant wires.
Create A No Slip Floor
For slippery tile and smooth wooden floors, you might want to consider a no-slip strip. These traction producing strips create a griplike surface which allow anyone to find their footing. These are especially useful for slippery stairs or changes in elevation in the house. For seniors who may need help installing these slips, find someone within your quarantine circle who can safely enter their home to install. If the senior is already using the services of a home health aide, you can always ask them for their help as well!