February 03, 2014
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported falls in 2010 was largest among the age group of over 75-year-olds. These figures attest to the fact that every adult family home needs to extra-vigilant to prevent residents from falling as they move around the premises.
In 2010, at least 115 people out of every 1,000 in the 75-year-and-over age group are reported to have experienced a nonfatal fall injury for which a healthcare professional was contacted, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another study, done in 2008, states that the rate of injuries suffered in bathrooms increased with age, and was highest among the over-85 age group.
How Can Adult Family Homes Help to Prevent Falls?
- Exercise. The more exercise older people get, the less likely they are to suffer falls. Routines that increase leg strength and improve balance are most beneficial. Adult family homes can bring in someone to run exercise classes, which most seniors find a lot of fun.
- Medication. Some medicines may cause drowsiness or dizziness. A close eye should be kept on residents who take drugs that may have these side effects.
- Eye checks. Eyes should be checked regularly at least once a year, as seniors’ vision can deteriorate rapidly.
- Tripping hazards. Staff at an adult family home should be on the lookout continually for tripping hazards such as low tables, electrical cords, loose rugs, and clutter.
- Maintenance. Damaged flooring should be repaired immediately and spilled liquids cleaned up straight away. Outside walk areas should be kept clear of vegetation, fallen leaves, ice, snow, and any other hazards.
- Supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D assist in strengthening bones, and Vitamin A helps maintain good vision. Meals should include sources of these substances, residents given short exposure periods to sunlight (for Vitamin D), and, if necessary, supplements can be handed out.
- Lighting. It is essential that lighting is good in all public and private areas. Night lights in bedrooms are a good idea.
- Grab rails. These are particularly important in bathrooms, as seniors often need something to hold onto in the shower or tub, and sometimes struggle to stand from the toilet. Rails should also be installed on both sides of stairways, steps, and ramps.
- Nonslip. Install nonslip strips on bathroom floors and in tubs and showers.
With a little care, an adult family home can make residents safe from falls.