When a senior lives independently in their own home, they're more vulnerable to certain injuries due to their age.
But, many injuries among seniors can be prevented with a few safety steps to make the home safer and prevent falls. Check out our handy infographic below to see the biggest risks and key areas to focus on within the home.
Some of the biggest areas to make safe in the home include:
- Remove clutter and scatter rugs
- Clear any blocked pathways
- Remove or repair unstable furniture
- Keep floors dry
- Make shower/bath areas easily accessible
- Install grab bars in the shower/bath and near the toilet
- Add non-slip mats to the floor and bathing area
- Keep shampoos and other bottles easily accessed
- Prevent falling out of bed
- Make closets and dressing areas clear and accessible
- Add lighting
- Remove clutter and scatter rugs
- Avoid spills or other slick areas
- Keep items off of high shelves
- Use a step stool or grabber if able to
- Use the microwave instead of the stove
- Make sure smoke detectors are working
- Install Carbon Monoxide detectors, especially if using gas appliances
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy
- Fix Uneven steps
- Repair or remove loose carpeting
- Secure handrails
Common In-Home Injuries Among Seniors
These are some of the most common in-home injuries among seniors. Many of these can be avoided with proper safety measures taken to prevent falls among the elderly.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in adults age 65 and older.
When walking around the home or exercising, older adults have a higher risk of rolling and twisting their feet, causing the ankle joints to move from their normal positions. Many older adults avoid physical activities because they are afraid to sprain their ankles or fall. Low impact exercises for seniors like water aerobics or chair yoga can help with balance and keep you active.
It's common for older adults to overstretch or rip their hip adductor muscles, causing painful groin injuries. These injuries are painful and make it more difficult to walk. To prevent these accidents. older adults should pace themselves and increase their exercise activities gradually. While this kind of injury can be embarrassing to talk about, it should never be ignored and always discussed with your doctor or care provider.
Lower Back Injuries:
Many older adults deal with thickened ligaments, disc degeneration and arthritic facet joints - all which increase the odds of lower back injuries. To prevent back issues, watch your weight and exercise to create good posture.
Head Trauma / Traumatic Brain Injury:
Falls and vehicle accidents are common among older adults, raising their chances of sustaining head injuries. Falls are the #1 cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in seniors and elderly adults. Older adults suffering from head trauma have a higher risk of developing conditions like dementia and Parkinson's disease. Always wear a seatbelt when driving, use assistive devices like canes and walkers, and limit alcohol consumption.
Fires and Burns:
Fires and Burns can be caused by leaving the stove on, having a space heater, smoking, or equipment malfunctions among heat generating devices. The risk is higher among older adults who cook, increasing their risk of scalding or burning themselves. Try these kitchen safety tips at your home.
Choking & Other Food Related Incidents:
Food safety is a real concern, especially among older people with vision issues, allergies, or hard to read or confusing food labels. The risk of choking is higher among older adults, especially if they are talking or laughing while eating. Learn to do the Heimlich Maneuver if you are around seniors who are prone to choking.
About The Author:
Alice Lucey is the Director of Be Independent Home Care, a fully nurse-owned and managed home care company in Dublin, Ireland. She frequently writes online content covering a broad spectrum of matters relating to caregiving for senior citizens.