One of the most under reported medical difficulties facing seniors living alone in the home is the
risk of injury as a result of a fall. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), one out
every three seniors (age 65+) fall at least once each year. Only about 50% of that total will even
discuss that fact with their healthcare providers. Falls are also the number one cause of injuries for
seniors. Statistics like these should underline the importance of fall proofing a home for anyone
who is over the age of 65, and particularly those who may have additional risk factors such as
neuropathy as a result of diabetes.
Basic health maintenance can go a long way to lowering the risk of a fall. Seniors with low bone
density should take calcium supplements to lower the risk of shattering a bone as the result of a
fall. We will all suffer from decreased muscle mass and strength as we age, but seniors should
especially sure to get regular weight bearing exercise to ensure lower body strength. Monitoring
medications to ensure that you are not experiencing dizziness can also help. Your pharmacist or
physician can review your medications will you.
Covering the basics helps a great deal, but there are also some basic modifications that you can
make to the way you do things in the home to make sure that you are minimizing the risk of a fall.
The bathroom with one of the highest risk areas of the home, due to slippery water that can get
onto the floor and other surfaces. Grab bars in the bath tub and the shower can be helpful here, as
well as the right kind of bathmats for the floor. Mats should be attached to the floor securely and
provide traction to wet feet after exiting the tub or the shower. Ensuring that the bathroom is well
lit can also prevent issues and allow you to see potential hazards.
In the rest of the house, keep the floor clutter free and open is essential. Again, having good
lighting conditions that allow you to locate potential hazards is critical. If you have rugs in any
room of the house, make sure that they lay flat on the floor and do not move or clump. Attaching a
adhesive rug backing between the rug and the floor can be helpful to ensure that the area rug stays
in place and does not cause a fall. Maintaining the home is also critical. Cleaning up spills in the
kitchen or fallen items on the floor is something that must be done promptly every time, before the
item or spill goes forgotten and then unnoticed.
Unfortunately, many seniors cannot totally minimize the risk of a fall. For those seniors who even
after taking the proper precautions will still be at risk, getting an on person medical alarm device
that can be worn in the shower may be a good option to consider.
Consult other resources for more information about equipment that you can buy to help fall proof a
home. We recommend that any durable medical equipment that you purchase for yourself or a
loved one be professionally installed.
About the Author
Jacob Edward is the current manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. He has been in that
position since 2007.