How Can I Help My Elderly Loved One Prevent Falls?

Falls are a leading cause of hospitalization among the elderly. As people age, their bones thin, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, a degenerative disease that causes brittle bones and heightens the risk of fractures. Other age-related factors, such as mobility problems, dementia, and chronic pain, also contribute to the risk of falls. Here are some strategies to reduce your senior loved one’s risk of falling and ensure their safety.

Eliminate Floor Hazards & Ensure Handrail Safety

Obstacles on pathways and stairs can heighten the risk of falls at home. It’s crucial to keep floors and stairs clear of hazards, such as shoes, dog toys, magazines, and other unsecured items that could potentially lead to a fall. Promptly clean up spills and remove throw rugs from the home to prevent tripping. 

If the home has stairs, ensure the banister or railing is secure. If there isn’t a railing, consider installing one to provide an extra layer of safety when your loved one navigates the stairs. 

Handrails or grab bars should be installed in the shower to prevent falls on the slippery and wet surface of the tile. Installing grab bars on both sides of the toilet can also provide more stability when getting on and off the toilet.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional home caregivers who provide high-quality home care in San Francisco. Trust Corio by Institute on Aging (IOA) to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

Buy Safe Shoes

Ill-fitting shoes, untied shoes, or shoes with slippery soles can also increase the risk of falling. Many elderly individuals have mobility problems that prevent them from lifting their feet properly when they walk. As a result, wearing thick-soled shoes may lead to trips and falls. 

Instead, encourage your loved one to wear shoes with thinner, sturdy soles that are more comfortable and less likely to cause falls. Additionally, instead of shoes with laces, suggest shoes with Velcro fasteners, which are easy to manage and won’t come untied.

Monitor Medication Side Effects

If your loved one takes prescription medication, they may experience side effects such as drowsiness, weakness, confusion, dizziness, and vision problems, which can lead to falls. If your loved one reports experiencing side effects, or if you notice them yourself, contact your loved one’s healthcare provider immediately. The physician can adjust the dose or discontinue the medication and replace it with one less likely to cause side effects.

If your senior loved one needs hourly, live-in, or overnight home care, Corio by IOA can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Ensure Proper Lighting

Dimly lit rooms can increase the risk of falling. Bright lights can illuminate pathways and stairs, helping your loved one feel safe and comfortable while moving around the home. 

It’s also essential to keep nightlights on in the bathroom, bedroom, and hallways for those times when your loved one needs to get up in the middle of the night. Proper lighting can minimize the fear of falling and prevent incontinence accidents due to reluctance to walk to the bathroom in the dark. If your loved one is unable to sleep because of the continuous glow of the nightlight, consider using motion-detecting lights, which are only activated by movement.

Professional caregivers can help seniors stay safe in their homes. Families looking for top-rated hourly, 24-hour, and live-in care providers can reach out to Corio by IOA. From respite for family caregivers to specialized dementia care, there are many ways we can make life easier for aging adults and their loved ones. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Connect Specialists today at (415) 750-4111.