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Questions for the Experts: How can I help my parents prevent falls in their home?

Questions for the Experts: How can I help my parents prevent falls in their home?

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients.

Q: How can I help my parents prevent falls in their home?

A: Preventing falls is a big concern for seniors, especially during the holiday season. Make sure walkways are clear of snow outside and packages and decorations inside. Make sure all electrical cords are undamaged, and never stretch them across sidewalks or hallways. That way everyone can enjoy the beauty of the holiday season without worry.

General Home Safety Tips

  1. Clean up clutter. Remove all clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers and magazines, especially from hallways and staircases.
  2. Repair or remove tripping hazards. Examine every room and hallway, looking for items such as loose carpet, slippery throw rugs, or wood floorboards that stick up and repair, remove or replace them.
  3. Install grab bars and handrails. These safety devices are crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bathtub. Have a handyman or family member help if necessary.
  4. Avoid wearing loose clothing. You want to feel comfortable at home, but baggy clothes can sometimes make you more likely to fall. Opt for better-fitting and properly hemmed clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the ground.
  5. Light it right. Fix inadequate lighting by installing brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways.
  6. Wear shoes. Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk. Purchase non-slip socks that have grips on the soles of the feet if shoes are too uncomfortable.
  7. Make it nonslip. Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches, can become extremely dangerous when wet.
  8. Move more carefully. Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Preventing falls like this is as easy as taking your time.

Whitney Shawver, APRN, practices at Campbell County Medical Group Geriatric Medicine in the Main Clinic on the south side of Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Call 307-688-3636 for an appointment. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/senior.