A caregivers’ guide to fall prevention awareness

A room by room home assessment is a critical first step to identify and eliminate potential falling hazards to help protect your elderly loved ones from injury or death.

In a new National Safety Council State of Safety Report the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. for older adults, at home and in the community, is falling. As a caregiver, the home is often the place you spend hours caring for your loved ones. However, the home presents numerous unforeseen hazards for people with limited mobility, balance or poor vision. A home fall prevention guide will assist you in identifying unsafe areas and offers suggestions to reduce the risk of fall related deaths and injuries.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention‘s home safety strategies:
  1. Remove things from stairways and the floor that pose a tripping hazard.
  2. Remove throw rugs from all area or secure with double-sided tape to prevent slipping.
  3. Keep things you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
  4. Have grab bars put in next to and inside the tub and next to the toilet.
  5. Use non-stick mats in the bathtub and shower floors.
  6. Improve the lighting in the home, use brighter lights. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
  7. Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
  8. Wear well-fitting shoes with good support inside and outside the home.

You can also consult the CDC’s comprehensive brochure, Check for Safety A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults, to further assess each room in the home.

Michigan State University Extension encourages caregivers to be proactive to assess and address falling hazards found in the home, and discourages older adults from risky behaviors like getting on a step stool or ladder. Your first line of defense as a caregiver includes keeping your loved one safe.

Contact your local MSU Extension office to learn more about fall prevention and evidence based programs to improve balance such as ‘A Matter of Balance.’ 

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