Should you be concerned about senior injuries that occur at home?
Every year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries, according to the CDC. Only about half of seniors tell their doctors about their falls.
A terrible fall or a house accident might have devastating consequences. Twenty-five percent of elder falls result in injuries to more than one body component (compared to an average sixteen percent among other age groups). Accidents might result in damaged bones or concussions. One in every five falls among women over the age of 55 necessitates hospitalisation.
As most falls do not result in major injuries, being unable to get back up can lead to pressure sores and hypothermia while they wait for help.
Furthermore, the senior may develop a fear of falling again. This worry may induce your loved one to cut back on their daily activities, weakening them and increasing their risks of becoming hurt.
The good news is that by making modest changes to your elderly loved one’s home environment, you can easily prevent the most common senior home accidents.
“I took the opportunity to tidy my mother’s home when she collapsed and injured her wrist. She’s considerably more at ease now, and I’m more relaxed knowing there’s less of a chance.
Who is the most vulnerable to home accidents?
A combination of risk factors causes the majority of at-home elder accidents. The more risk factors a senior has, the more likely they are to be hurt at home. The following are the most common causes of injury at home:
- Lower body weakness
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants (some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet)
- Vision problems
- Foot pain
- Poor footwear
- Home hazards or dangers
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- A history of previous falls
The 9 Most Common (and Avoidable) Senior Home Accidents
The following nine injury types are most common for seniors living at home:
- Medication overdose or improper medication
- Joint dislocation
Make Your Senior’s Home Environment Safer in 5 Minutes
In as little as five minutes, you can make a home safer for senior citizens. Here are some suggestions for making your older loved one’s house safer and assisting them in navigating their surroundings with ease:
Set up induction cooktops.
Invest in a one-cup boiler.
- Install a stove with an automatic shut off
- Purchase a cooktop fire-suppressor and quickly instal it using magnets
- Purchase a jar opener and safety can opener
- Place the things they use most often on the lower shelves (about waist high) (about waist high)
- Label containers and storage areas clearly
- Tripping hazards, such as carpets, clutter, or electric lines, should be removed.
- Check to see if the senior and their walker/wheelchair can get around the room without difficulty (if not, rearrange the furniture to allow easy navigation)
- Invest in a chair raiser.
- Replace the carpet with non-slip cushioned flooring.
- Increase the height of their bed with risers;
- ensure that drawer knobs are simple to reach;
- and light the walk from their bed to the bathroom with a lamp nearby (ideally with two-way switches that glow in the dark)
“From my father’s bed to the bathroom, we strung lightbulbs along the way. It’s the best present we’ve ever given him!” he exclaims.
- Install grab bars in and around your tub or shower, as well as next to the toilet (if there are grab bars already, make sure they are tight and in good condition)
- Install a toilet seat that is higher.
- Place non-slip mats with anti-skid backing on the floor (or replace the bathroom tiles with a non-slip surface)
- Showers and bathtubs with walk-in doors should be installed.
- Remove any things that may have fallen onto the stairs;
- check for upturned carpet edges;
- instal railings on both sides of the stairs (or tighten existing railings);
- repair or replace damaged or worn carpet; repair uneven or broken steps; and consider stairlift possibilities.
- Remove potential tripping hazards (upturned carpet edges, clutter, electric cables, etc.)
- avoid repeating carpet patterns (they may produce optical illusions)
- Install anti-slip ramps to make crossing thresholds between rooms easier.
- More or brighter light bulbs should be used in their home (preferably, lighting that replicates sunshine because it is the most effective and can boost moods).
- Throughout the house, instal smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“It’s amazing how much of a difference a few minor adjustments can make! My grandmother’s microwave was placed on the counter, and we purchased a walker with a tray for her to deliver her food to the table. It’s a lot safer, and it allows her more freedom.”
Simple Changes a Senior Can Make to Reduce the Risk of an Accident
Your older loved one should take the following precautions to avoid injuries:
- Wear comfortable shoes;
- get out of bed and chairs slowly to avoid becoming dizzy;
- ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medications to see if any of them may cause dizziness or sleepiness;
- ask their doctor about taking vitamin D supplements;
- exercise to strengthen their lower body and improve balance;
- avoid leaving items on the floor or stairs; have a ‘grabber’ that they can use to pick up items;
- have a ‘grabber’ that they can use to pick up items;
- Instead of using the oven or stove to cook or heat food, use the microwave (if the microwave is easily accessible)
- Learn what to do if they fall or have an accident Do not dry clothes on heaters Clean lint from the clothes dryer once a month (or ask a friend or family member to do it for them)
- Fill the bathtub with cold water first Use the back burners on the stove top and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker
“Last year, while trying to pick up a sweatshirt off the floor, my father slipped. We bought him a new ‘grabber,’ which he now utilises all the time! He can easily pick things up without falling.”
“My great aunt was adamant about cooking her food herself. It used to be fine, but her arthritis was progressing and making it more difficult for her to perform tasks with her hands. We gently warned her about the dangers after she received a minor burn. She now cooks using an air fryer and enjoys the health benefits as well!”
Today, make your senior’s home safer.
You may start putting the above suggestions into action right now to make your senior loved one’s house as secure as possible.
If you need a caregiver or a professional to assist your senior loved one in navigating their home safely,