In one year, an average of three million older adults seeks emergency care following a fall. Twenty percent of those falls cause serious head injuries or bone fractures. More than 300,000 of those bone fractures involve the hip.
Reducing your mom’s risk of falling is crucial when she lives alone. You need to stop and look at these common safety issues and address them sooner rather than later.
Cluttered Rooms and Floors
Clutter is not only a fire hazard, but it also increases the risk of a fall. Those books that don’t fit on the bookshelf get stacked on the floor. It seems reasonable until you’re walking down the hallway and catch your toe on them and trip.
Poor Furniture Placement
Your mom loves home design shows, and she loves the living room seating arrangement that has everyone facing each other. The problem is that the paths out of the room are now narrow. She’s consistently hitting her shins on the coffee table. You worry that one of these days she’ll hit her shin hard enough to fall and injure herself.
Loose Stair Rails
Stairs must have handrails for your mom’s safety. The rails have to be securely affixed to the wall or posts. They need to be smooth and splinter-free. Check them periodically for splinters and loose screws.
Lights on stairs, in rooms, and hallways have to be bright enough. LED lighting is bright and energy-efficient. It will lower your mom’s electricity bills and provide plenty of illumination to every corner of a room and entry.
Flooring in kitchens and bathrooms is often linoleum or tile. When those surfaces get wet, the risk of a slip and fall is high. Add grab bars in the bathroom, too. Grab bars give your mom something to hold onto as she steps into and out of the shower or tub.
Newer vinyl flooring is waterproof. Plus, the surface of this flooring can be textured to give it a slip-free surface even if it’s wet. As vinyl flooring comes in snap-together planks, it’s also quick to install and doesn’t need glue or nails.
Hire Caregivers to Assist Your Mom With Ambulation
Call a home care agency and ask about a home assessment. If caregivers can help her with ambulation, it’s important to hire them. Caregivers keep your mom safe and make sure she has everything she needs. Learn more by talking to a specialist.