Fall Prevention: Top 5 Tips for Caregivers of Northern Kentucky Seniors

One in three seniors experiences a fall each and every year. In fact, falls are the number one source of both fatal and nonfatal injury for older adults. So what can caregivers in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati do to help keep an elderly loved one safe? The aging in place experts at St. Charles Community offer families their top five tips to preventing falls:

1. Evaluate Their Home Environment

You might even want to consider paying a physical therapist or an occupational therapist to complete a professional assessment of their home. Throw rugs, extension cords and cluttered rooms are a few of the worst hazards a senior faces in their own home.

Doctor helping a senior man on a walker in a corridor

2. Grab bars and stairway railings

Assess the areas where your aging loved one may have to go from a seated to a standing position, as well as steps and stairways. Do they have something secure to grab on to for balance? If not, they may compensate by grabbing on to the back of a chair that could tip over or a towel bar that isn’t strong enough to hold their weight. You might want to follow them around and see what their natural activity patterns are. This can help to you determine what modifications you may need to make to their home.

3.Good lighting

This one seems obvious to most of us but is often overlooked in practice. Good lighting can prevent falls. Have light switches at the top and bottom of stairways. Use night lights to help after dark. Seniors are notorious for having bad sleeping patterns and often prowl around the house at night. Make sure they can easily access lighting. Make sure light bulbs that burn out are immediately replaced.

4.Get Moving

Older adults are sometimes afraid to exercise for fear of falling. The opposite is true. Maintaining strength, coordination and balance are among the very best fall prevention practices. Talk with your loved one’s primary care physician for recommendations on the best methods of exercise for their health conditions and needs.

5.Encourage the use of assistive devices as ordered

If your elderly loved one’s physician has ordered an assistive device such as a cane or a walker, encourage them to use it 100% of the time. Most falls and injuries to seniors happen at home, yet home is the place they are least likely to use their cane or walker.

NCOA (the National Council on Aging) kicked off a new initiative Fall Free in 2013 in January. Their goal is to connect caregivers of seniors across the country to help share ideas on keeping their loved one’s safe. You can contribute and follow their efforts on Facebook.

Has your loved one experienced a fall? What have you done to prevent falls at home?

St. Charles Community is Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati’s most trusted senior care partner. A faith-based, nonprofit organization, we have served elders in our community for over 50 years. Contact us today at 859.331.3224 or visit us at www.stcharlescommunity.org for your senior care and living needs.