According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of injuries for seniors. A slip and fall injury can result in minor or serious injuries. While a minor injury may result in bruising, a serious injury may result in broken bones, brain injury or death.
Even without injury, a minor fall can have a negative impact on an individual’s quality of life. Many seniors become fearful of another fall. This may cause them to reduce or avoid activities they once enjoyed, leading to isolation or depression. Fortunately, a few simple tips can help prevent falls in elderly individuals.
Fall Prevention Tips
The following fall prevention tips are meant for seniors living independently. If your loved one is in a nursing home or assisted living facility and has experienced one or more fall, we recommend that you speak with an elder abuse attorney as soon as possible. Even one fall in a nursing home or an assisted living facility can be a sign of nursing home neglect.
Tip #1: Install Aids for Steps, Staircases and Bathrooms
Handrails and grab bars in the home can help prevent falls by elderly individuals. Secure handrails on both sides of steps and staircases. Handrails allow for easier ascent and descent.
Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for seniors. Water on shower, tub and floor surfaces increase the risk for slipping. Add grab bars near toilets, bathtubs and showers to prevent falls. You should also consider adding non-slip mats for increased safety.
Tip #2: Stay in Well Lit Areas
As individuals age, the retinas of the eyes lose their ability to take in light. This makes it difficult to distinguish edges and obstacles, increasing the risk of a fall. You should install good lighting throughout the home, especially on staircases. You should also install nightlights in bathrooms and other important spaces to help with maneuvering the home at night.
Try using this home safety checklist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It goes beyond handrails and lighting to help prevent falls by elderly individuals.
Tip #3: Communicate With Your Healthcare Provider
Check-ups and physicals are a necessary and regular part of preventative medicine. If you or your loved one has difficulty with balance or gait, you may benefit from physical therapy. Balance and gait issues are two factors that cause falls.
A physical therapist can provide an exercise regimen for an individual’s specific needs. This can include a regimen that assists with improving motor skills and balance. It may also include getting fit for a walking aid.
Tip #4: Take Medications as Prescribed
Prescription medications should always be taken according to the doctor who prescribed them. A pill box or medication dispenser with a timer helps aid in taking medications as prescribed.
However, some medications have side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness. These types of side effects can cause risk of fall injury. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist if side effects present themselves. They may have alternative options for you.
Do You Need to Speak With a California Elder Abuse Attorney?
If you have questions about elder law or suspect elder abuse in California, call Needham Kepner & Fish LLP. A knowledgeable and experienced elder abuse attorney can help you evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case. An attorney can also advise you on your next steps and best legal options. Call us at (408) 956-6949 or connect with us online.