There is nothing more important than slip and fall prevention when providing elderly care. Fall risk prevention means making the home or living environment as safe as possible for a parent, grandparent or any elderly person. According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries resulting from falls caused roughly 8,000 deaths and 56,000 hospitalizations in the past three years. The risks of women suffering from fall fractures is alarming, with nearly 72% of seniors admitted to hospitals for hip fractures being women. Those who fall three or four times a year are most likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility with permanent disabilities, while men who fall are more likely to die as a result. Many seniors who fall never go home again and are placed in care facilities, and many are relegated to a wheelchair for the remainder of his or her life. Those numbers, coupled with the number of fall risk hazards found in the common home, result in thousands of hospitalizations every year.
According to the CDC, the average cost for health care as the result of a fall totals $19,440 (excluding doctor's fees). How do you go about initiating fall prevention in the home? Take a good look at your parent or grandparent's house or their living environment. Remember that a fall prevention program, whether it's initiated in the home, a hospital or a nursing home, will help reduce catastrophic injuries, surgeries and medical expenses.
Look at every object as a potential hazard to safety and do what you can to adapt the home to make it more senior-friendly and fall-proof. Such home modifications might be as simple as replacing light bulbs to installing grab bars in the shower or tub area.
Fall prevention research finds that most falls occur in the bathroom and the kitchen area of the home. Home modifications in these rooms may help to reduce the risk of accidents through a series of fall prevention interventions:
Fall prevention programs initiated by many county health departments or community services offer information on how to make the most popular room in the house – the kitchen – safe for elderly residents.
Remove clutter from every room in the house, especially the living room. Old newspapers, books and magazines are often difficult to see and cause potential falls and accidents.
Family members or friends of an elderly person should address fall prevention in the home as soon as possible. Don't wait for an accident before you provide a safe living environment for your loved one.