Whether it’s from dizziness, medications, certain health conditions like
arrhythmias or just tripping over an uneven surface, the fact is the older
we get the more likely we are to fall. For some seniors, it’s a serious and
Kurt Kazanowski, a hospice, homecare and senior care expert and author
of A Son’s Journey: Taking Care of Mom and Dad, offers
12 steps you can
take to help prevent
falls in the elderly:
► Check floors: Move the furniture to make clear walkways. Remove rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip. Pickup any small objects. Tape or clip wires and cords to the wall.
► Check stairs and steps:
Keep objects off the stairs. Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure
the carpet is firmly attached to every step, or remove the carpet and attach nonslip
rubber treads to the stairs. Install an overhead light at the top and bottom
of the stairs. Make sure handrails are tightly secured to the walls.
► Kitchen: Move more frequently used items like cups and dishes to the
lower shelves of cabinets. If you must use a step stool to reach items that are
stored higher up, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair. Make sure
all kitchen chairs are even and don’t wobble.
► Bathroom: Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the tub or
shower floor. Install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet. Consider
installing a floor level shower that doesn’t require stepping up.
► Bedroom: Place a lamp close to the bed. Install nightlights so you can
see where you are walking at night. Consider carpeting which can absorb the
impact of a fall better than tile.
► Check medications: Ask your pharmacist to review medications you take
as some can make you more prone to falls.
► Wear shoes: Make sure and wear shoes inside and outside the house.
Sneakers with a firm rubber bottom that grips the ground well are best. Avoid
going barefoot or wearing slippers or socks.
► Easy access to help: Keep emergency phone numbers in large print and
near each phone. Put a phone near the floor in case of a fall. Consider an alarm
device to wear that will bring help.
► Vision checks: Get regular vision checkups at least once a year.
► Regular exercise: Exercise makes you stronger and improves balance and
coordination. Regular exercise may help reduce falls and injuries. Always
check with your physician before starting an exercise program.
► Protective clothing: Hip protectors, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist splints
and soft foam helmets can greatly reduce or eliminate serious injuries in
people who fall often.
► Nutritional changes: Speak with your doctor about adding calcium,
vitamin D and C. These may help prevent fractures and reduce falls.