According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year. If your aging parents are living at home, one of the easiest ways you can keep them safe is to make simple changes and upgrades to their home to lessen the chances of a fall. Here are a few simple tips to help prevent your aging parent or grandparent from falling inside the home.
Locate and Eliminate Tripping Hazards
Walk through your parent or grandparent's home — or your home if your parent is living with you — and identify all the potential tripping hazards. For example, look for loose carpets in the living room, loose floorboards in your parent's bedroom, or a bathtub that does not feature a nonslip mat. Make any necessary repairs and continue to monitor the carpets and floors to ensure that any future damage is repaired immediately.
Keep the Home Clean
For many elderly individuals, keeping their home clean is a particular challenge. Your parent might have trouble cleaning up a spilled cup of coffee, or they may allow newspapers to pile up near the front door. If your parent is not able to clean up after themselves, consider hiring a housekeeper to keep the home tidy. If your parent is still able to clean up, make sure they have adequate cleaning supplies, and don't hesitate to pitch in if they ask for help.
Ensure There Is Adequate Lighting
Even if the home is clean and any tripping hazards are eliminated, if your parent wakes up in the early morning to enjoy a cup of coffee or must use the bathroom at night, an unexpected fall can still occur because there is not adequate light. Install motion-sensing night lights throughout the home and higher-wattage light bulbs in rooms your parent or grandparent frequents, such as the living room, kitchen, or bathroom.
Talk to Your Parent's Doctor
Finally, if your parent is experience dizziness and, despite taking every precaution, is still tripping or falling, contact your parent's physician to determine if there is an underlying cause. For example, your parent might be taking a prescription medication or an over-the-counter medication that can cause dizziness. There may be an undiagnosed condition that may be causing dizziness or a loss of sensation or pain in your parent's legs that leaves them in danger of suffering a fall.
From making sure there is adequate lighting to keeping the home clean and clutter-free, there are several ways you can help lessen the chance of your elderly parent or loved one suffering a fall in the home.
To learn more about your options, contact a resource that offers home care services.