For people aged 65 and older, falls are a common problem. Seasonal factors, like ice and snow, make the risk even greater. Each year, about 36 million seniors suffer a fall. Of those falls, approximately one in five results in an injury, like a fracture, bruise or concussion.
While there’s no way to prevent falls entirely, there are steps you can take to protect your loved ones. With a little bit of planning and organization, it’s possible to keep your senior family members on their feet.
1.) Regularly shovel sidewalks and stairs. Snow and ice are serious hazards. To prevent their buildup, have someone shovel regularly. Remove all snow from walkways, sidewalks and stairs. If your home doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight, lay down sand, cat litter or rock salt. These materials help snow and ice melt more quickly.
2.) Keep your home clean and clutter-free. Your balance changes as you get older. Over the years, your muscle strength weakens and your joints become less flexible. When combined with reduced vision and reaction time, falls are bound to happen. To lower the risk inside your home, keep each room clean and free of clutter. Regularly vacuum hallways and make sure electrical cords are untangled and off the ground. Make sure to wear comfortable, supportive shoes, too. If your shoes have laces, tie them. By taking care to eliminate trip hazards, you can protect your health.
3.) Use a walker or cane. Many older adults are hesitant to use a walker or cane. For independent folks, this is understandable, but these tools are meant to promote balance and safety. Whenever there’s no railing or someone to assist you, use a support device. If you can’t keep your balance when using a walker or cane, consider a wheelchair.
These are just a few of the ways to prevent a slip-and-fall injury. For additional insights, check out this article from AARP. Stay safe!