As we grow older, our sense of balance diminishes and the stability of our stature is often weaker. It is well known that seniors are more prone to falling, and that injuries sustained from falls can be quite devastating.
In Canada, falls account for 85% of injury related hospitalizations in those over 65. Almost 50% of seniors who fall sustain a minor injury, and 5% – 25% sustain a serious injury like a fracture or sprain. Falls are the cause of more than 90% of hip fractures in seniors and 20% die within one year of the fracture.
Taking steps to prevent falls is incredibly important. So many falls happen right inside our own homes. Make your home or the homes of the seniors in your life safer by taking the following precautions:
- Remove clutter. The more clutter there is, the more things there are to trip on.
- Ensure that every set of stairs has a handrail
- Add a contrasting colour strip at the end of each step on the stairs. This makes it very clear where each step ends and the next step begins.
- Use a nightlight anywhere there is dim lighting (in bedrooms and bathrooms, at the top and bottom of stairs)
- Always wear proper footwear around the house. Sturdy non-skid soles.
- Remove all loose carpets, throw rugs and mats. Apply non-slip backings to all carpets and rugs so there is no chance of tripping on them.
- Install “grab bars” or safety rails near toilets and bathtubs where possible. They allow a person to lower themselves slowly and safely. The bathroom is the most common place for falls to occur.
Take a walk-through and assess the safety of the home. So many injuries can be avoided by taking the time ensure the home is safe and senior friendly.
Qualicare Ottawa can help with home customizations to suit a senior’s specific healthcare needs. If you know an Ottawa senior who needs help staying independent in their home, please contact us.