Fall Prevention for Seniors

Fall prevention services are regularly requested by our clients. Falls are the leading cause of injury to seniors, accounting for 87% of fractures and 25% of hospital admissions. One-third of seniors will experience a fall in any given year, with the majority of these falls taking place at home.

Age, physical changes, health conditions, and even some medications can increase the odds of a fall. Fall prevention is a critical way to keep those at risk healthy and safe. There are many measures you can take to significantly reduce the odds of an elderly family member falling at home. It’s part of Minute Women Home Care’s mission to keep your loved ones safe.

How Our Fall Prevention Service Helps Makes a Difference

The reason our logo is a hummingbird is because we’re nimble and quick. When last-minute cases come in, we do everything we can to accommodate them. 

That’s what Judy had heard about Minute Women, so when her mom wanted nothing more than to be in her own bed for the weekend, Judy called us.

Her mother Elizabeth had been at the hospital for over a week and was unable to sleep. She had a fall with a minor injury at her assisted living apartment but was feeling better in recent weeks. Her medical issues that caused the fall had been addressed, so she wanted to go home immediately.

The team at her assisted living had recommended 24/7 care through the weekend to ensure that Elizabeth made a full recovery. Judy completely agreed.

Judy called us at 3:00pm on Friday asking if there was any way we could send a caregiver to the assisted living facility by 7:00pm that day. Otherwise, Elizabeth would have to spend the weekend in the hospital.

Our scheduling team jumped into action. We had a caregiver at the assisted living at 7:00pm to meet the ambulance. We were able to provide 24/7 care with the same two caregivers throughout the weekend, guaranteeing consistency and punctuality. For the next few weeks, our caregivers ensured that Elizabeth was safe, preventing further injury and re-admission to the hospital.

Facts About Falls

We will go room by room with the most common areas where people fall, but first let’s go over how dangerous a fall can be.

  • 87% of all fractures for seniors are because of falls
  • Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions, and 40% of all nursing home admissions 40% of those admitted do not return to independent living; 25% die within a year.
  • 1/3 of the population of 65 fall each year.

4 Rooms Where Falls Occur Most Often

One of the biggest threats for seniors who live alone is falling. They happen often and in many cases, seniors can be left alone, injured, and unable to get help for hours or days. Too often these falls result in death.

With National Fall Day occurring September 25 it is a great opportunity to go over where falls occur. Also, you will learn, how you can prevent falls, so your loved one stays safe in their home for years to come.

1. Kitchen

Since water can drip on the floors that are usually wood or linoleum high, many slips occur in the kitchen.

  • Keep commonly used items within reach so stretching out to get items does not occur
  • Don’t use floor polish
  • Keep appliance cords out of the way to prevent tripping

2. Bathroom

The bathroom is another common area where falls occur. Like kitchens, water can create a slippery floor. Additionally, falls occur in the bathroom late at night when lights are dim.

  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower/tub (I highly recommend screwed-in grab bars and not suction cup grab bars.  Suction cups only need to fail once to become a mistake)
  • Purchase non-slip mats
  • Use a raised toilet seat so it is easier to get on and off the toilet

3. Living & Dining Rooms

Falls do occur here, but not as often as the kitchen and the bathroom, but little changes can make the difference

  • Arrange furniture to make it easier to get in and out of couches and chairs.
  • Remove caster wheels so items do not unexpectedly move
  • Rearrange lamps or change outlets so flipping a switch is all that is needed to turn on lights, rather than manually turning a lamp on or off.
  • Use TV removes and cordless phones

4. Stairs & Hallways

  • Keep free of clutter
  • Secure carpets and remove throw rugs that are a major source of falls
  • Install handrails for stability
  • Make sure there is plenty of lighting

Tips To Stay Healthy, Safe, and Strong

To help prevent falls, here are some basic suggestions that go along way for many seniors.

  • Getting your recommended intake of calcium with help keep bones strong.
  • Getting sufficient Vitamin D from outside activities will enhance calcium absorption
  • Exercising often will increase muscle and bone strength and make an individual stronger and more stable
  • Getting a medical alert system will be vital in case a fall occurs a phone is not nearby.

Fall Prevention Tips

Be proactive by removing falling hazards.
A proactive plan is always preferable to seeking reactive treatment. Reduce the risk of falls inside the home by eliminating falling hazards in every room.

Kitchen Safety:

  • Ensure the most used items are easily within your loved one’s reach
  • Refrain from polishing the floors
  • Tidy up all appliance cords

Bathroom Safety:

  • Install balance bars next to the toilet & shower or tub for extra stability
  • Use non-slip mats
  • Install a raised toilet seat

Living and Dining Room Safety:

  • Rearrange furniture, so it’s easy for your loved one to sit down & stand up from the couch, dining table, or any other seating
  • Make it easy to turn lights on & off by putting them all on one switch
  • Put a cordless phone in each room

Fall Prevention and Safety Ideas

In the unfortunate case that your loved one does fall, here are some proactive measures you can take to minimize the pain and damage:

Remain active. Physical activity improves flexibility, balance, and coordination. It also keeps muscles limber and joints smooth — so encourage your loved one to stick to regular walking and stretching routine. Even better, help them out by finding an activity you both enjoy doing together!

Ensure they are getting plenty of calcium & vitamin D for bone strength. Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are all too common amongst seniors, which is why it is important to make sure they are getting enough of each. Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements help to improve bone health.

Get them a medical alert system. It is imperative for seniors to have a medical alert system that enables them to contact emergency services if they do fall.  This way, medical personnel will be on their way even if the senior cannot get to the phone to call for help. The sooner the medics can get to your loved one, the better.

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    Minute Women Home Care
    238 Bedford St #7
    Lexington, MA 02420
    Phone: 781-862-3300
    Fax: 781-861-7721

    Service Area:

    Lexington, Concord, Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, Newton, and Belmont.

    Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts Accredited
    National Aging in Place Council Member