7 Ways to Help Prevent Falls in Your Home

Elderly woman holding on handrail for safety walk stepsNo one likes to take a tumble. For seniors especially, falls are much more serious. Not only can they cause physical injury and bleeding, but they can also affect mental health and confidence or even cause post-traumatic stress and anxiety. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to significantly lower the risk of falls and make your home safer for your senior loved ones.

Our team of in-home caregivers in NJ has determined the 7 best ways to help prevent seniors from falling at home. 

#1 – Check medications. This is often a fall risk that’s overlooked, but it’s an extremely important one to check. Certain medications or combinations of medications can cause dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar, all of which can increase the risk of a fall. Make a detailed list of your loved one’s medications (including over-the-counter drugs) and go over them with their doctor to make sure they’re the safest options. Also, make sure they’re being taken at the right time of day, in the right combination in order to avoid negative side effects. 

#2 – Remove area rugs where possible. Area rugs are beautiful, cozy additions to any home – but they’re also a potential fall risk. They create a change in the surface traction of the floor (for example, if you have a wool rug on a wooden floor) and can easily curl up to become a tripping hazard. If your loved one shuffles while they walk, has poor eyesight, uses a walking aid, or is unsteady on their feet, area rugs should be lifted up and packed away. 

#3 – Modify everyday activities. A few easy enhancements to the home can help keep your loved one both independent and safe from falls. Modifications like grab bars in the bathroom (for the bath, shower, and toilet), secure handrails on stairs, night lights by the stairs, and rearranging the kitchen for easy access to pantry essentials (rather than using a grab handle or step ladder), make all the difference.

#4 – Temperature precautions. Too much or too little heat affects how our bodies function and can make seniors dizzy and more likely to fall. In the summertime, make sure your loved one keeps hydrated (there should always be a full glass of water on the nightstand) and stays out of the sun between noon and 4pm when possible. You should also make sure your loved one’s air conditioning is at a cool but comfortable temperature. On the other hand, the thermostat shouldn’t be set any lower than 68 degrees Fahrenheit or higher come wintertime. 

#5 – Get rid of the clutter! A home that’s difficult to move around in is a home where a fall can easily happen. With that said, there’s no time like the present to help your loved one clear-out some unnecessary clutter. Having clear, wide pathways, no items on stairs or in passageways, space between furniture, and clear floors is essential. Beware that an unfamiliar layout can be a fall hazard too, so it’s important not to change the layout of their furniture too much unless it’s really in the way. If your loved one doesn’t want to sell or donate excess items, you can turn a spare room into a storage space that can be closed off from the rest of the house. 

#6 – Time to visit the tailor. Clothing can be a tripping hazard, whether it’s pants that are too long or shoes that have worn down. We recommend that every senior has comfortable shoes that have good grip and are easy to slip onto the foot or fasten with Velcro rather than laces. Existing clothes can be taken to a tailor to be hemmed and modified (especially if your loved one has lost weight). Or better yet, you can treat your loved one to a little shopping spree for new, better-fitting clothes! 

#7 – Get extra help at home. Having in-home caregivers is perhaps the best senior fall prevention tip. Ensuring that someone responsible is with your loved one and able to assist and monitor their movements throughout the day is invaluable. That’s where United Methodist HomeWorks comes in. Our in-home care agency provides seniors with expert care and companionship in New Jersey. 

The services provided by HomeWorks caregivers are customizable and follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our clients at all times. Our experienced home health aides in NJ have a passion for working with seniors and keep up to date with the latest methods in caregiving. 

To find out more about our home-based care services or how to hire a home health aide in NJ, please visit our website at: 

https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/home-health-aide-services/