One of the leading causes of emergency room visits for senior citizens is from injuries sustained from a slip or fall accident. Though most seniors survive the resulting fall injuries, fear of another fall or the after effects of a fall can force some seniors to curtail activities or end their independent lifestyle.
In addition to the physical, mental and emotional trauma the senior may suffer, the annual medical costs of treating such injuries is in the billions. But there are things that can be done to ensure a safer living environment for seniors, which could prevent or drastically reduce the occurrence of falls with the implementation of a few safety measures.
Many seniors suffer from poor eyesight that can be aided with better lighting throughout the home. Increase bulb wattage and install night lights.
Bathtub and toilet assistance measures
To assist in sitting, standing and rising install grab bars around the walls and on the bathtub, and next to the toilet.
Inside bathtub safety
Add non-skid bath mats or appliqués to bathtub or shower floor.
Get rid of bar soap and install soap and shampoo dispenser.
Add a padded bath or shower seat.
Install hand held shower head.
Bathroom floor safety
Use non-skid floor mats and get rid of area rugs.
Preventive health measures
Seniors should schedule annual eye exams to detect any changes in vision.
When it comes to physical activity, a good motto for seniors to remember is “wear out – not rust out.” A regular exercise program can both strengthen bones and increase flexibility, thereby improving balance.
Seniors should consider wearing a medical alert device in case of a fall and are not able to reach the phone.
Use a reach and pick-up tool or strong step stool to reach top shelf items in kitchen cabinets or pantry.
Store frequently used items in an easy access area.
Living room area
Use chairs and sofas with firm back and seat with arm rests for greater ease in getting in and out of.
Electrical and telephone cords should be kept out of pathways.
Use television remote control
By putting the above safety measures into practice senior citizens can enjoy their independence, and relatives and friends can have peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved ones are living in a safer living environment.