1 in 3 ageing people will experience a fall each year, but many choose not to discuss it or even ask for help. If you provide assistance to an ageing client and are concerned about their in-home safety, there are ways you can help decrease their chances of having a fall.
According to Better Health Victoria, seniors are 12 times more likely to experience a fall than a road accident. Although falls are common in aged care homes and in an ageing person’s own home, they are avoidable and can be prevented with the right safety measures and health management.
Whether you’re a support worker, concerned loved one or health professional, you can help contribute to a safer, healthier home environment for an ageing individual.
Preventing falls inside the home
- Help your client or loved one by removing clutter, especially in walkways, stairways, corridors and poorly lit rooms
- Take note of places in the home where your client might be unsure on their feet or afraid of stepping, and ask how you can help them
- Check that all mats and rugs are secure and use adhesive to keep them in place
- Clean up any spills or mess immediately
- Closely monitor bathrooms and rooms with tiled floors for slipping hazards
- If your client or loved one appears to lack confidence in their home, start a conversation with them about how you can help them feel safe and secure
Preventing falls outside the home
- Maintain a tidy garden and outdoor entertaining areas by sweeping, removing any moisture and moss
- Replace any faulty light bulbs to ensure even lighting
- Clear away any hoses or garden tools that might be a trip hazard
- Report any nearby cracked or broken footpaths to your client’s local council
- Encourage your ageing client or loved one to always wear sunglasses and a hat to reduce sun glare.
If you think it’s likely your ageing client or loved one might experience a fall while you’re not present, ask them whether they have a safety plan if they fall. If they don’t have a plan, ask them whether they’d be comfortable organising one with you.
If you think they would benefit from home modifications, suggest to your client that they can always get in touch with an occupational therapist who can assess their home and look at installing railings, ramps, emergency alarms and safety aids.
Falls are very common amongst people aged 65 and over and are a major cause of injury for seniors, but most falls are preventable. If your client or loved one is hesitant to talk about potential in-home safety hazards, continue encouraging them to open up about their concerns and health.
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