No matter how healthy, independent or active your loved one may be, one bad fall could change everything. Someone living on their own may have to change their living arrangement, while someone already of poor health may have a tougher time recovering after a fall. Let's take a look at some ways to help prevent your loved one from falling.
One of the best things you can do for your loved one, regardless of their living situation, is to have them wear some kind of medical alert device that also provides fall detection. Today there are many on the market to choose from with competitive and affordable pricing. These systems are now so discreet, some look like a fitness watch, that even the most independent of seniors won't feel embarrassed to wear one. This ensures that they will have the help they need should they not be able to physically call for it themselves, or in some cases, hide that the fall ever happened. Unfortunately, some seniors are afraid of losing their independence or are embarrassed to admit to a fall.
Consider installing some safety devices for the home. Many falls happen in the bathroom and while going up and down the stairs. For the bathroom, a raised commode with handle bars, bathing bench, chair and shower grab bars are simple additions, as well as a non-slip mat to the shower floor. Make it so that all soaps and shampoos are within reach, as well as their towel or robe. For nightly restroom trips, invest in a nightlight with a motion sensor, to clearly light the way. To avoid going to the kitchen for a glass of water, buy a carafe or thermos to keep on the bedside table.
If the flight of stairs has become too difficult and installing a stair lift is not an option, you might want to try moving the bedroom downstairs. Even if there is no dedicated bedroom, bring down the mattress and make an area of the living quarters a makeshift bedroom. Daybeds are a great option as well! Having a clear floor space is very important. A tidy space is a safe space, so make sure there is nothing lying around that could be tripped over. Rearrange the furniture to make for optimal space, hide all electrical cords under furniture so there's no chance of tripping, have shoes tucked away in a closet and books, knitting or crocheting neatly organized in a convenient basket that is easily accessible. Putting remote controls, telephones, tissues and an extra pair of glasses all within reach may be a good idea also.
While items like area rugs may not keep the pathways clear, they may be a necessity, so make sure they wont slip or slide or roll up by using a non-slip mat underneath or some tape to keep it in place. Rearrange items in the kitchen so there won't be a need to reach for something on a high shelf. Express the importance of asking for help should something be out of reach. If cozy slippers are worn by your loved one, try a pair with a back on them for a more secure fit. Slippers without a back can easily fall off and cause a fall.
Another great option is to consider an Independent Living Community, where all of the above safety measures are already incorporated in a senior friendly environment. As an added bonus, some senior living properties have a home care agency on-site, offering personal assistance for things like medication management or assistance with bathing or dressing in the privacy of one’s apartment. There is peace of mind knowing that help is just a step outside your door and that there is a staff in place 24/7. Additionally, here are ongoing daily opportunities to socialize and participate in on and off site activities. The social component is equally important to one’s well being both emotionally and physically. Activities like yoga, painting, bingo, bible study, billiards, swimming, sports and field trips just to name a few are considered every day fun. The greater Houston area has many such beautiful communities that make life easier to enjoy without the hassle of maintaining a home or property and without losing an ounce of independence!
We hope these suggestions will keep your loved one safe and happy. Contact Mom’s Care Plan if you’d like more helpful fall prevention tips or would like a list of Independent Living communities that fit your budget. And please use our comment section to share any other suggestions you may have! Mom's Care Plan would love to hear from you!