Mom has now fallen twice in the last 3 weeks! I don’t know why!
There are a number of reason why mom or dad may be falling but there are also some basic preventative tips on what may help prevent falls.
I realize some of this may sound very basic and common-sense like…however, if it helps just a few on something new to try in preventing falls it is worth it!!
Just The Facts (Adults Tend To Fall!)
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (Click here for direct website)
- One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2014, the total cost of fall injuries was $31 billion.
Falls are the primary reason the elderly end of in a facility based care environment. Most people are reluctant to leave home. Doing the little things in the home to make it as safe as possible is important.
- Look Around! Obstacles In The Way That Might Be Causing Falls?
- Simplify! Downsize; Does Mom Really Need That Plant Right There – What If She Trips Over It?
- Use Furniture As An Aide!
Look around. Not in your eyes, but through your mom’s eyes. You know mom uses her cane pretty often and that is a good thing. You would prefer she use her walker but she just isn’t open to that idea yet. So what can you do?
Take a look at the areas that she is moving to throughout the day.. Most days she does the same routine. You want to understand what this routine is. Once you know her routine, you want to study it and make things that she does in that routine as simple as possible,
She travels the same path more often than not. You know she gets out of bed and heads to the bathroom. From the bathroom she goes to the kitchen for her coffee. From the kitchen she heads to her living room chair to watch television.
Okay, now you’re getting somewhere. You know how mom moves about her house and what she is doing. You know that bathing has it’s own challenges as well in regards to falls. How can you use this information to help prevent her from falling, whether while taking a bath, or just moving through her house?
Remove The Obstacles > Help Prevent Falls!
First thing you are looking for are obstacles in her most traveled paths. Is there a lamp chord that may or may not be in the way? Is there a magazine holder that sits on the floor that takes up a bit of space? Or how about a patch of carpet that sticks up that maybe her cane is possible getting hung up on?
All of these little things can assist in her falling. Make sure the paths that she is most often using are totally clear of all obstacles and possible challenges. You do not think twice about the magazine holder because it’s been there for the last 20 years. However, with mom’s poor vision and the use of her cane, it is actually an obstacle for her that she hasn’t realized is an obstacle. Move it. Simple enough.
Place Heavy Furniture In A Position To Help!
Keep all the paths as wide open and obstacle free as possible, If you can keep a large furniture item on one side of her that can work well. For example, let;’s say that the path from her kitchen to her chair is a little bit of a distance and there is nothing that she could grab on to should she lose her balance.
Could you possibly rearrange the furniture in that room so maybe the back of the couch acts as guide to a walkway that she could grab onto if she were to lose her balance? Couches are generally long and stable so they can act as a good grab bar should they be needed.
Straight Lines Are Better!
Maybe the walk from her bed to her bathroom is not able to be taken in a straight line. What if you were to just turn her bed to face a different direction? Now when she goes to get out of bed, she just puts her feet on the floor and is able to walk in a straight line right to the bathroom. She no longer has to go around the bed,. This can aide in her being able to get there with no obstacles.
While we are on the subject of the bed, keep in mind that a large majority of falls occur in the middle of the night. Mom has to go to the bathroom, the lighting is poor, her vision is weak, and she gets up a little too quickly, Now her blood pressure drops and down she goes. It is absolutely critical that mom is able to get from her bed to the bathroom with as few obstacles as possible.
If you are able to give her some type of grab bar assistance near her path that she uses to get to the bathroom, this can be a lifesaver. Oftentimes people are rushed to get to the bathroom. Give them help on this path – keep it clean and direct!
Simple Is Better When Dealing With Fall Prevention!
The simpler you can keep things the better. Mom does not need the clutter. It adds to the challenge of her mobility, Keep the large furniture items, they can serve as aids to grab onto when needed. Lose the little items.
The decorative floor plants that can get in the way, the newspaper stack that mom recycles every week. If she insists on keeping these, at least move them to an area that is totally out of the way; NOT next to her chair where she has to maneuver around them each time she wants to sit down.
When looking for things to assist in fall prevention, keep this in mind. Things you have been looking at for years may be the problem. Keep the pathways as clear as possible. Move things that do not need to be there. Although mom might get upset with you at first for doing this, it can assist in helping prevent falls.
Keep the bedroom as clutter free as possible,. Make walkways as straight as possible. Eliminate unnecessary obstacles. Keep the bathroom as open as possible and put some bright night lights in there if possible. The more light the better.
If you have a loved one that is becoming more and more of a fall risk, by all means get them to wear a Fall Alert device. This allows them to press a button should they fall and assistance will be on the way. Amazon sells one that has no monthly fees. Also, there are several provider’s of these in your area.