Things You Can Install or Do in the Home to Prevent Falls
Once the physical issues and medication issues are examined, it’s time to look at the home. There are a lot of things that can be done in each room of the house to help people stay safe. There may be special safety equipment you need to get, like a grab bar or a non-slip mat. You might also need to reorganize some things. Try these tips out.
A bath or shower can turn into an absolute nightmare with a fall. With slippery floors and plenty of uneven, hard surfaces, injury can happen very easily. The chances of falling are higher in the bathroom than nearly any other room in the house. A wide array of safety equipment has been made to make bathrooms safer. Here’s a list of common changes and upgrades to ensure bathroom safety for seniors.
Install Suction Mats or Safety Strips for Traction.
Suction mats provide a bit more traction, lowering the risk of falling in the tub. They are attached by suction cups to the tub, which is where they got their name. Suction mats are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, so there should be something for even the most decorating-conscious. Safety strips in the middle of the tub are another way to give more grip. Be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully to prevent curling or slipping.
Use Night Lights
Installing a night light is one of the single-most valuable fall prevention activities that you can do in a home. Night lights prevent people from fumbling for their medication in the middle of the night. Bathroom safety for seniors is greatly enhanced with night lights.
Sit Comfortably in a Shower Chair
Shower chairs are excellent for those who are not able to stand up long enough to take a shower. The chairs provide an anchor to sit in and wash every part of their body.
Install a Detachable Shower Head
One of the best investments that you can make for fall prevention in the bathroom is to have a detachable shower head. By moving the head around rather than the body, there’s less chance of a fall happening inside the shower. Combine this with a shower chair for extra safety.
Elevate Toilet Seats For Fall Protection
Toilet seats can prove to be an issue for those who do not have enough strength in their hips, knees, and legs to lift themselves. Installing an elevated seat will help your loved one stay in balance and therefore less prone to fall.
Put Non-Slip Floor Mats Down
The installation of non-slip floor mats is an excellent way to prevent falls in the shower or bath. These give an extra bit of help to people who might have otherwise been going from a wet surface to a wet surface. Non-slip mats are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to increase the bathroom safety for seniors.
Use an Organizer to Sort Soap and Shampoo
Organize toiletries in a way that they are very easy to reach and away from the floor. When bending down to pick up something, you can overextend yourself and reach over your center of gravity, increasing your likelihood of falling. Putting everything up at shoulder level prevents this from happening in the shower.
Keep Your Medical Alert Bracelet With You
The bathroom is the most common place for falls. Having a medical alert button specifically for the bathroom is an excellent investment. Be sure to keep the unit charged!
Add Safety Bars
Safety grab bars are solid bars on the wall near the tub, shower, and toilet where people can grab and lift themselves up. Standard towel racks are not designed to hold your weight in a fall. Installing these bars in the bathroom can potentially save your life. When a grab bar is combined with a medical alert system, the consequences of falls are greatly reduced.
Change the Flooring
Linoleum and tile floors, while easy to clean, are incredibly slippery. Look into making an investment in a textured tile floor or even thin carpeting. That will let your toes grab onto the floor a little easier and provide a more stable surface for those who might have diabetic neuropathy.
Consider a Bidet
If you or your loved one is having difficulty safely cleaning themselves, consider getting a portable bidet. That will reduce the chances of rashes and infections, as well as generally promoting good hygiene.
Around the Home
The rest of the home also has safety risks that must be addressed. Take a look at these tips for ways you can make homes more fall-proof.
Get a Step Stool
It’s better to stay safe with a step stool than overextend yourself by standing on tiptoes with a stick or other object. Make sure there is a grab bar on top of the step stool for support.
Use a Reacher
A reacher is a device used to pick up items from the floor or from a high place. They are invaluable for people with arthritis, but they can also help people who are prone to falling.
Reach for the Rails
For those who are prone to falling and have a second floor in their house, hand rails should be placed on both sides of the stairwell. The railings give you an anchor point from which to push off, just like the grab bars in the bathroom.
Install Non-Slip Pads on Stairs
Non-slip pads installed on stairs give you more surface grip. Wood stairs, for example, are sometimes especially slippery.
If Necessary, Install a Lift
Stair lifts can be installed in homes for less than you think. They are classified as a home modification, and many insurance companies will pay for them. These devices mechanically lift people up the stairs. For more information, take a look at our article titled How to Install a Home Chair Lift
Put Nightlights Everywhere
Install nightlights throughout the home to make night navigation significantly easier. Knowing the hazards within your home before they happen can prevent falls and other mishaps from happening.
Install Light Switches at the Top and Bottom of Stairs.
If you have stairs in the home, make sure there’s a way to turn off the stairway light on both ends. That way there is no need to climb the stairs in the dark.
Place a Lamp and Telephone near the Bed
Nightstand tables are the perfect places to keep phones and lamps. You never know when you are going to need light to get around or just to jot down a number.
Use Furniture with Armrests
The best chairs for those with waning health are those which have solid armrests. These let you push yourself off with your arms, minimizing the strength needed from your legs.