The Importance of Fall Prevention in Home Safety for Seniors

As your loved one ages, their muscle tone and strength will diminish, and their mobility may become impaired. They may be at an increased risk of a fall or other accident in the home. Falls can be incredibly dangerous to a senior’s overall health and wellness, as it takes them longer to recover from broken bones, injuries, and surger

Falls and other home safety issues can also impact your loved one’s comfort and ability to stay in their own home as they age. If your loved one would prefer to age in place in the comfort of their home rather than entering an assisted living home, you need to do what you can to mitigate their risk of a fall or other accident or injury.

Scheduling a home safety evaluation, installing home safety features, and hiring an in-home care specialist can all lower your loved one’s risk of injury.

Why Are Seniors at a Higher Risk of Falls?

Falls are a leading cause of injury in elderly or senior adults. Seniors generally have a lower mass volume and decreased coordination, which can make it harder for them to get around their homes safely. Many seniors have weaker muscles, decreased muscle mass, joint stiffness or inflammation, or other mobility issues that can increase their risk of tripping, stumbling, and falling.

Some elderly people have health issues that increase their risk of a fall, like low blood pressure, cognitive impairment, low blood sugar, obesity, osteoporosis, vision or hearing impairment, or vertigo. Your loved one’s home environment can also contribute to their risk of a fall.

If your loved one’s age or lack of mobility is affecting their ability to take care of housework and home maintenance, their home may have trip hazards like poor lighting, clutter, damaged flooring, and poorly maintained rugs or carpeting.

Data and Statistics About Senior Accidents and Falls

Understanding statistics and data for senior accidents and falls may make it easier to talk to your loved one about their risk of a fall. While many elderly people do not want to face the fact that they are at a higher risk of accident or injury as they age, presenting them with data may help them understand that you should make some changes around their home to protect their health and safety:

  • Over 36,000 adults over the age of 65 died due to falls in 2020.
  • Three million emergency room visits in 2020 were due to falls in older adults.
  • An older adult suffers from a fall each second of each day in the United States.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in people over the age of 65.
  • One in five falls causes a significant injury in older adults.
  • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by a fall.
  • Women are more likely than men to suffer from a dangerous fall.
  • Falling once doubles your chance of falling again.
  • The most common injuries associated with senior falls are head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, and upper arm fractures.

Home Safety Evaluations to Improve Home Safety for Seniors

Scheduling a home safety evaluation can reduce your loved one’s risk of a fall or other accident around the home. If your loved one isn’t yet ready to transition into an assisted living facility, consider scheduling a home safety evaluation.

During an evaluation, a professional goes from room to room, evaluating the safety issues and hidden dangers throughout the home. They walk through the home’s interior and exterior while using a detailed checklist to assess the safety of each area.

They may discover uneven flooring, poor lighting, lack of safety features, unsecured medications or chemicals, and other issues that could pose a health or safety risk. They will then provide you with an official report of their findings as well as professional recommendations for changes you can make to eliminate or mitigate fall and safety risks.

Preventing Falls at Home – Room by Room

Your home safety evaluation expert will go room by room to assess the safety of each area of the home. Here is an example of what their home safety checklist looks like:

  • Floors and Stairways – Your evaluator will look at the condition of all floors and stairways to check for trip and fall hazards like loose carpeting or rugs, damaged flooring, wet flooring, poor flooring materials, damaged handrails, lack of handrails, and poor lighting. They will also point out clutter and mess that could pose a trip hazard.
  • Hallways – They will evaluate the lighting and flooring conditions in hallways as well as mess, clutter, and other tripping hazards.
  • Bathrooms – They will determine if you need to install grab bars, mount bars, or a shower seat in the bathroom. They will also assess the lighting in the bathroom and determine if the floor is unsafe when wet.
  • Bedrooms – They will assess the flooring and lighting in the bedroom and determine how easy it is for your loved one to get around. They will evaluate how far the bedroom is from the bathroom and how easy it is for your loved one to get into and out of bed. They may recommend different flooring, grab bars or safety bars, night lights, smart home features, and other safety technology.
  • Kitchen – They will determine how easy it is for your loved one to reach the items they use most commonly in the kitchen. They may recommend that you keep frequently used items out on the counter or at arm’s reach. They will assess the condition and safety of the stove, oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and other appliances. They may recommend a smoke and fire alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher.
  • Living Areas – They will assess the living room and other living areas. They will evaluate the flooring and lighting and look for trip and fall hazards. They will make sure there are working smoke and fire detectors. They may suggest better lighting or installing smart home features like smart lighting and a smart thermostat to make it easier for your loved one to maintain a comfortable environment.
  • Patios and Outdoor Spaces – They will walk through the patio and other outdoor living spaces. They will look for damaged or uneven walking surfaces, poor lighting conditions, and dangerous steps or stairways. They may recommend repairing steps or railings, installing new ones, and cleaning up debris from walkways or patios.
  • Basements and Attics – They will assess the safety of basements and attics, including stairways or steps leading to each area. They will evaluate the lighting and flooring conditions and will make recommendations for repairs. Depending on the condition of these areas and your loved