Many elderly people express a strong desire to stay in their homes rather than enter an assisted care facility or nursing home. If you have an aging loved one who has fallen or who is at a high risk of falling, there are many steps you can take to help lower their fall risk while still maintaining their independence. In our previous articles (see Parts 1 & 2), we mentioned the importance of removing clutter from the home. There are several other items you should seriously consider eliminating from the home in order to keep your elderly loved one safe.
Help Your Elderly Loved One Weed Out Unnecessary Furniture & Knickknacks
If your loved one gets around the house using a cane or a walker, extra furniture and knickknacks could pose a major fall risk. They can create awkward angles and narrow walking spaces that may cause your loved one to feel tempted to forgo using their walker or cane altogether and end up falling. Encourage your elderly loved one to either sell, donate, or allow different family members to hold onto some of the large, clunky items that are getting in their way around the house. If they absolutely insist on keeping these items, see if you can convince them to store many of them in the basement, attic, or garage. Your loved one may be amazed at how much easier it is to get around once these items aren’t in the way.
Remove or Secure Dangerous Rugs
One of the biggest causes of falls are those pesky rugs that slip and slide across linoleum or hardwood floors. Rugs can also be hazardous if the corners keep turning up and could get caught beneath your elderly family member’s feet. Rugs should be removed unless they are securely fastened to the floor so that they won’t move. You can look for rugs that are specifically designed to be slip-resistant.
Consider Setting Up Regular Home Care Service
Making sure that items that pose a falling hazard are removed from the home is just part of a comprehensive fall risk prevention plan for your aging loved one. Another aspect to consider is how much extra individual time and attention they need to make sure that they feel safe and secure. This is a decision that will vary from senior to senior depending on their unique condition and specific needs. You could find a provider who helps with running errands, shopping, and preparing meals, as well as helping with hygienic needs and offering companionship a few times a week.
Add Home Health Care Services If Needed
In certain instances, you could seek out a medically-based home care service in addition to your regularly scheduled home care. This is the type of home care provider who would cover services like administration of medications and occupational and physical therapy. They would be extremely helpful in a situation where your loved one has already suffered a fall and they want to do everything possible to get in their best possible shape to avoid future falling injuries.
In our final article in this series, we’ll take a look at a few more ways you can help make staying at home safer for your elderly loved one.