Bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms top Fall Prevention Center of Excellence's list most dangerous rooms. When you're going through your parent's home looking for hazards, start with these areas and look specifically for these hazards.
What to Look for in Bathrooms
In a 2008 CDC study, it was found that the majority of bathroom falls occur in the bathroom or shower or at the toilet. Common issues are slipping on the wet tub or shower floor or losing balance while standing up from or sitting down on a toilet.
In both cases, a supportive grab bar can help with balance. Grab bars should be installed on the wall inside the tub or shower, right outside the tub or shower, behind the toilet, and to the side of the toilet.
It also helps if you add traction on a bathtub or shower floor. Stick-on floor tiles that have grip are one option. A rubberized bath mat that uses suction to stick to the tub or shower floor is another way to add traction.
Many falls in the bedroom occur at night when a senior is trying to get to the bathroom in the dark. Eliminate this risk by putting a lamp near the bed and nightlights in the bathroom and hallway. Make sure lamp cords and pet beds are not in the path your parent uses to get to the bathroom. Make sure shoes, books, and other forms of clutter are not stored on the floor.
Many kitchen falls occur when seniors try to reach items in the highest cabinets. They grab a chair, lose their balance, and fall. Move commonly used items to lower shelves. An extending reacher that grabs items for them will also help. If your parent needs to climb up to reach something, invest in a step ladder that has grab bars at the top for security.
Falls in the living rooms often happen because furnishings jutted out and caught toes or a knee. Make sure ottomans and footstools are tucked out of the walking path. If there are throw rugs, check that they don't slide on the flooring or curl up at the edges. If a sofa or chair is too soft to get out of easily, buy firmer furniture. You could also install a couch cane under the arm to support your parent as they get up.
If balance is hard for your mom or dad, enlist the help of caregivers. Caregivers can help your parent get in and out of the shower safely, get out of bed or off a sofa, and support them while walking up and down stairs. Call a home care agency to get started.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in DeWitt, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.