Falls are common in older adults, with the CDC reporting 36 million falls yearly. With one out of every five falls causing an injury and 3 million emergency room visits due to falls in older adults each year, it becomes clear why fall prevention is crucial for preserving the health and well-being of your loved one as they get older.

Continue reading for tips on preventing falls at home and what to do should a fall occur.

What We’ll Cover:


Health Factors That Can Increase Fall Risk

Those with an elderly relative should know the health factors that increase fall risk. This is because identifying these factors allows you to take the proper precautions for safeguarding your relative’s belongings, preventing falls at home, and knowing how to respond appropriately to minimize damages and get your loved one quick assistance.

Some health factors that can increase fall risk include:

  • resting and standing blood pressure
  • heart rate and rhythm
  • visual activity
  • hearing impairments
  • pain in the neck, spine, or extremities
  • muscle weakness, especially in the legs
  • any deformities
  • any limitations in range of motion

By being aware of the health conditions affecting your loved one, you can better help them properly manage these conditions, such as through medication. Knowing these health conditions may also make home care assistance a valuable option to help prevent elderly falls, as they can help your loved one manage their conditions and take their medication as prescribed.

For individuals with the above health factors, assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, may be helpful for an elderly loved one with declining mobility since they help them to travel safely.

How to Safeguard Your Home from Falls

For those looking to safeguard their loved one’s home and prevent elderly falls, the following tips can guide where to start. Proper nutrition and diet can also reduce fall risk.

However, before getting into the tips, it is essential to remember to always include your loved one in the following elements. Bringing up these concerns with your loved one not only helps them feel as though they are maintaining independence over their life and what happens in it, but it also increases their likelihood to accept the new changes they must make for fall prevention.

Identify Trip Hazards in Their Home

When walking through your loved one’s home, you will want to look for anything that sticks out or gets in the way, especially in frequent walkways.

When preventing elderly falls, be on the lookout for the following:

  • throw rugs
  • clutter
  • steep or long steps
  • poor lighting
  • pets
  • extension cords in walkways
  • sloping driveway
  • sidewalk cracks
  • wet floors
  • spills

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Remove Tripping and Slipping Items

Once you have identified the tripping and slipping hazards in your loved one’s home, it is time to remove them or address the aspect that may lead to a fall. For example, if your loved one has an area rug with one corner bent up, removing the rug entirely is one option, while another option is to secure the end of the rug so that it does not curl up.

Remove Clutter

Clutter and loose items on your loved one’s floors, and walking paths are just asking to be tripped over, which is why it is best to remove the clutter and keep these walkways clear. If clutter continually builds up in your loved one’s home, home care assistance can help your loved one put items away where they belong and maintain clear pathways.

Place Non-Slip Strips

Placing non-slip strips on the steps and floors that are especially slippery can help prevent your loved one’s feet from sliding out from under them. This is especially important for those with steps going up and down daily.

Adding a non-slip strip or rubber mat to your loved one’s shower or bathtub floor is also helpful in preventing elderly falls while bathing. Yet another beneficial addition to a shower or bathtub is a grab bar that your loved one can use to balance themselves or a shower seat that will provide them with a place to sit while bathing, further assisting fall prevention.


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Be Cautious in the Snow

When the weather dips down and becomes icy, put sand or salt on icy surfaces, or hire someone to do this service for your loved one if you can. Additionally, ensuring your loved one has a good pair of snow boots with good traction can help fall prevention in winter.

It is best to ensure your elderly loved one knows to exercise caution when walking outside, especially when ice or snow is on the ground. Because of the significant increase in fall risk these weather conditions cause, they shouldn’t go outside alone when winter weather appears.

Rearrange Furniture

To help prevent falls at home, help rearrange your loved one’s furniture, so there is plenty of room for them to walk around freely. This ensures they won’t catch their leg on a chair or table while navigating a tight space, which could lead to a fall.

Increase Accessibility of Frequently Used Items

If you notice that your loved one is often reaching up high to grab an item, it is usually a good idea to move these frequently used items so that they are easier to grab. In particular, you will want to move anything your loved one has to reach or climb for regularly.


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How to Respond to a Fall Emergency

While falling may seem minor to younger people, it can be dangerous for older adults, especially if an elderly fall prevention plan is not in place. Home care assistance agencies specialize in preventing elderly falls in these situations.

First, assess the immediate environment for hazards if you are there when the fall occurs. This is important because you won’t want to move your loved one unless they are in danger from their position, such as if they fell when crossing the road. If your environmental assessment determines that they are okay to stay in that spot, we recommend leaving them there while you move on to the next step.

Securing the Area

Once you or a caregiver have secured the area, remain calm as you look for injuries, such as bleeding, bruises, broken bones, or sprains. Ask your loved one if they are experiencing any pain and where.

If your loved one is not badly hurt and wants to get up, find two sturdy chairs and place one at their head and one at their feet. Then, help your loved one roll onto their side before pressing up onto their hands and knees. Then, allow them to use the chair by their head to find a kneeling position. Have them lean their stronger leg forward while leaning on the seat, then bring the other chair directly behind them, having them sit back into this chair.

While you should guide your loved one through these steps and assist where needed, they must do most of the work. If they cannot, call 911 to have assistance and get them medical help if needed.

Aiding Response Time

If your loved one has just experienced a fall, or you wish to be proactive before one occurs, it helps to take some safety measures that will allow you to respond to the fall as soon as possible.

Wearable emergency response devices provide a way to connect elderly patients with help. Since they are always wearing these devices, they can call for help even if they cannot get up after falling.

GPS trackers offer another way to quickly respond to a fall, as they provide you and other family members with your loved one’s exact location so that no matter where they are, you can send for help.

Yet another surveillance option is physicological/activity monitors, offered by Minute Women Home Care, which can alert the family or caregiver when an emergency or something unusual occurs.

Key Takeaways

Falls are a common concern in older adults, so we recommend that adults be aware of what they can do to help fall prevention at home and respond accordingly should one occur.

Identifying trip hazards is one of the most important steps for elderly fall prevention, with throw rugs the most common culprit. Safeguarding the home from falls is also vital as adults become older, which involves addressing these trip hazards by removing throw rugs or securing loose ends, removing clutter, rearranging furniture, being cautious in the snow, and making frequently used items more accessible.

Should a fall occur, it is best to stay calm as you assess your loved one and their environment. If they are safe to get up and are not injured, you can help them get up, but they should do the majority of the work on their own.

Falls are a significant concern for adults as they consider the well-being of their elderly parents, which is why home care assistance can be a great source of comfort. With home care assistance, you know that your loved one is not alone, and they have someone who knows how to respond should a fall occur, minimizing harm to your loved one and helping them get quick treatment if needed.

If you have questions about taking care of a senior, contact us today!

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Minute Women Home Care is a premium, non-medical home care assistance provider that enables our clients to live at home with dignity and respect by assisting with their activities of daily living. We support families in their mission to allow their parents to age in place rather than transition to a nursing facility.

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