Did you know that one in four Americans 65 and older falls each year? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the top cause of fatal injury as well as the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older Americans.
May is Older Americans Month, so it’s a great time to talk about simple strategies for home improvements that can help prevent slip and fall injuries such as hip fractures, head trauma, broken bones, and sprains.
Improving the Bathroom
The bathroom can be an especially dangerous place for older adults. It’s filled with slippery surfaces and few ways to regain balance. Most falls that happen in the bathroom are related to getting into or out of the shower/tub, standing up from the toilet, or attempting to use a counter for balance.
If the bathroom contains a combination tub/shower and the mobility required to step in and out of the tub is becoming an issue, consider switching to a new shower that is specially designed for easy accessibility. If your loved one is having trouble with balance, a shower chair can add stability.
Avoid slips on wet tiles, flooring, and shower/tub surfaces by installing nonslip mats. Install grab bars near the toilet and shower or tub to help prevent slips and falls in these common danger zones. If your loved one is having difficulty lowering or raising from a seated position, install a raised toilet seat.
General Home Improvements
It’s very important to have proper lighting around the house to help prevent slips and falls. Stairs in particular should be well lit and you should ensure that the railings are stable and solid. Nightlights can also be installed throughout the home to make going to the bathroom or kitchen in the middle of the night much safer.
Avoiding clutter in bedrooms, hallways, and living rooms can help reduce the risk of falling. Be sure to keep walkways and steps clear inside and outside of the home. Check to make sure that all cords are hidden behind furniture or otherwise kept out of the home’s walkways. Don’t use throw rugs if you can avoid them. If you do need a rug, use the nonskid variety.
In the kitchen, store heavy items in low cupboards and drawers unless they are used often, in which case they should be left on the counter. Wipe up any spills immediately to prevent slippery surfaces. Keep a fire extinguisher easily accessible.
Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.