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Make a plan to prevent falls in your home

Published in For the Health of It Author: Sarah Abdul Jabbar,MBBS Author: Sarah Abdul Jabbar, MBBS

Falls and the injuries they cause are among the most serious health concerns in those 65 and older. In fact, the CDC reports that 1 in 5 falls result in serious injuries like broken bones or head injuries.

As the Baby Boomer population ages, falls will continue to be an ongoing health concern. It will be important for people of all ages to know what they can do to reduce a loved one’s chances of injury.

Ways to make homes safer for the elderly:

  • Vision only gets worse as people age. Add lights and/or make existing ones brighter.
  • Make sure you have rails on both sides of stairways.
  • Install grab bars in bathtubs, showers, and next to toilets.
  • Constantly work to keep stairs and floors clear of clothes, shoes, or any other clutter one could trip over.
  • Small throw rugs are a danger because they can slip and slide when stepped upon. Secure them with double-sided tape or consider removing them altogether.

Things your family member can talk about with a doctor:

  • Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause sleepiness or dizziness. Your friend or relative should visit their doctor to have their medications reviewed and changes in their health monitored.
  • Exercise can help maintain balance and keep one’s legs and lower body strong. The doctor can also help determine which activities are the best for him or her.
  • Older adults should have their vision checked at least once a year to check for cataracts and to make sure their current glasses work well.

Finally, it’s important to make a plan with your loved one to determine what they would do if they did suffer a fall. If he or she does not live around others, consider a medical alert system that could be worn around the neck or the wrist. That way, he or she could still contact others or 911 in case of an emergency.