Elderly adults are more likely to suffer serious injury from a slip and fall accident at home than other age groups. This can make family members feel very anxious about their loved one being on their own without an elder care provider or support aide present. The danger of a slip and fall accident is an important concept for family caregivers to understand.
The possibility of a slip and fall requires family caregivers to think about safety first and independence second. Working together, family caregivers and elder care providers can take every precaution to prevent elderly adults from situations where they might slip and fall.
Why are Slip and Fall Accidents Dangerous?
-The leading cause of non-fatal injuries for elderly adults in the United States is due to slip and fall accidents. When seniors fall, they can suffer everything from bumps and bruises to a concussion or broken bone. If an elderly person has already fallen before, the likelihood of another fall increases. Because the body is slower to heal in old age, elderly adults can be quite debilitated for many months after a fall.
-Seniors are more likely to fall for several reasons, such as poor balance, vertigo, weakened muscles, using walking devices incorrectly, slower reflexes and dizziness from medications, dehydration or insomnia. The environment in the home can also contribute to slip and fall accidents, with wet tile in the kitchen or bathroom, using the stairs, too much floor clutter, improper footwear and getting tangled up with a walker or cane. All these risk factors can be reduced when family caregivers and elder care providers do everything they can to make the senior and the home as safe as possible.
How Family Caregivers Can Help
-Family caregivers and elder care providers can contribute a lot to the elderly person’s environment to help reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. The first thing to do is assess their overall health and see if anything can be done about conditions like vertigo, arthritis and medication side effects. Poor vision is another thing that can cause seniors to slip and fall. Family caregivers and elder care providers should also check out how well the aging adult is using their walking aides and going to a physical therapist if they seem to get tripped up a lot.
-Other things that family caregivers can do to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident for seniors is to modify the environment of the home. They can install grab bars in the shower area, remove slippery throw rugs, move clutter out and rearrange furniture for clearer paths. Other small but impactful things that family caregivers and elder care providers can do are making sure all the lights work, getting well-fitted shoes, and boosting exercise and nutrition to make their body stronger.
Slip and fall accidents can be devastating to elderly adults, and even fatal. That’s why family caregivers and elder care providers should prioritize safety and eliminate any conditions that may lead to a slip and fall accident.