Older people are often vulnerable to accidents because they have higher risk factors than those in their 20s or 30s. Far from an age bias, this fact promotes awareness on safeguarding seniors in assisted living apartments. Knowing how to prevent falling for seniors is pivotal to ensuring their protection and safety at all times.
Why are Seniors Prone to Falling?
One of the main reasons for death and disability among seniors is attributed to falling accidents. On a regular day, even a baby or toddler falls. Still, seniors are the most vulnerable age group because of multiple factors such as age, diminished balance, and other health factors.
Falling is scary, especially for seniors, because it can cause severe brain trauma, spinal injuries, or death. Seniors tend to have a more extended hospital stay compared to younger ones. On the other hand, you can implement a more proactive approach to falling accidents than staying scared and stuck.
7 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors in Assisted Living
A fall is traumatic for a senior, which can seriously impact them on a psychological or emotional level. They would often feel nervous or anxious about making any movement and would rather stay in bed or remain isolated out of fear of falling. Self-confidence also wanes as seniors feel incapable of accomplishing easy and simple tasks. Below are some fall prevention tips to keep seniors safe.
1. Keep Seniors Active!
Seniors suffer from limited mobility due to old age. Still, as much as the fear of falling can be agitating, older people need to be consistent with keeping a physically active lifestyle for health’s sake. Regular aerobic or light exercises such as walking, jogging, or mild stretching are recommended following physician consultation.
The intensity and frequency of activities vary depending on the health and physical capacity of a senior. Frequent and consistent physical exercise keeps seniors in shape and is vital to prevent falls or any accidents.
2. Check the Safety of a Wheelchair, Walker, or Cane
You can check with your physician regarding the mobility aid (like a walker or cane) that fits your senior. You have an option to get a cane, wheelchair, or walker. Make sure that the mobility aid is safe and well-fitted to avoid any accidents. Most seniors find walkers to be handy – walkers also encourage independence. Consult with an occupational therapist for proper training and guidance on using the walker properly.
For more convenience and safety, seniors with limited mobility prefer wheelchairs because they provide more speed and freedom with movement. On the other hand, a scooter is modern and great for ease of use and convenience for both indoor and outdoor use.
3. Check Footwear
Your footwear may seem innocent, but if it’s the wrong size or isn’t non-slip, it could be a problem for seniors. It would be advisable to use shoes designed with Velcro straps because it’s adjustable and comfortable. More so, you avoid the long laces that could pose risks of tripping and falling. Some people mistake buying loose shoes for senior family members with the thought that it’s easy to put on and can be removed easily. However, poorly fitted shoes can do more harm than good.
4. Install Proper Lighting
It’s advisable to install better lighting for seniors who may have vision problems. Proper lighting helps seniors move around quickly and safely. In addition, you should also ensure that the light switches are easy to reach by seniors in assisted living apartments.
5. Keep Floors and Stairs Clutter-Free
Exaggerating on safety is encouraged when you are dealing with seniors. Stairs can be hazardous for seniors, and family members should take extra precautions to keep them safe. Ensure that the stairs are dry, clean, and free from any clutter like toys or other items like pens or books that can increase the risks of slipping or tripping on the stairs.
6. Remove Extra Furniture
Keep your furniture to a bare minimum to give more room for seniors to move around. A minimalist approach to designing a space for seniors would be ideal because you can prioritize form and function and remove any unnecessary items that may cause accidents or restrict movement.
7. Animal-Assisted Activities or Pet Therapy
A pet dog or cat can provide guidance or assistance to seniors when moving around. Pet therapy helps seniors cope with stress and improve socialization skills while keeping anxiety and depression at bay.
Personalize Your Fall Prevention Plan
It would be best if you discussed fall risks with the family and your physician. These risks include the following:
If an older person suffers from eyesight difficulties, vertigo, or severe underlying medical conditions and degenerative diseases like cancer, heart ailments, or spinal problems, you would encounter balance, pain, weakness, and side effects with prolonged medication. This increases their fall risk. In addition, a person who has had a fall incident once may reencounter another. Also, check on their medications and make sure they’re taken at the correct dosage or time to avoid any side effects that can impair balance.
Accidents happen even on the safest route or at the comfort of your own home. You can minimize the risks of accidents by checking on the equipment or even the personal belongings of seniors like their slippers or shoes. Ensure that their shoes are slip-proof and sturdy. Check the leash of their dogs to ensure it won’t break when they go for a walk. You should also check on their cane or any assistive device to make sure everything is in one piece and safe for senior use.
Having increased awareness of your home hazards will help you protect seniors from falls. Look at your furniture and fixtures at home. Is your home or facility accident-proof? The little things or details in your environment can unknowingly cause falls, so you must be aware of items such as toys sprawled out in the living room or on the stairs, slippery floors or rugs, and other things indoors. Check outdoor hazards, too, and make sure your seniors are safe even when resting on the porch.
Accidents happen every day, and the data is even higher with seniors. With that in mind, personalizing your fall prevention plan or approach is crucial if you want to minimize the risks of falling accidents in assisted living apartments.