The older we get, the more susceptible we are to slips and falls. The muscles in our legs will weaken, our balance will become suspect, and we’ll have some issues with walking, especially on uneven surfaces. When you’re young, you stumble or slip quite a lot, but you don’t usually notice it because your balance is keen. For elderly individuals, a minor situation of being off balance can have severe consequences, leading to hard falls. That’s why senior home safety is something that all family members should keep in mind from the outset.
What are the three most common causes of falls for seniors in their home?
A lack of physical activity.
Any time that you don’t get the right amount of physical exercise, your muscles are going to become weaker. This can also affect bone mass, a lower flexibility, and even a loss of balance. It’s important that seniors get as much physical exercise as they need throughout the day in order to remain agile and fit.
Do an experiment to observe what it would be like to have impaired vision in one eye. Cover your eye and walk around your house for a few hours like that. Don’t cheat and open your eye when you’re unsure about yourself. Be extra careful if you have to navigate stairs, though. You’ll notice that with just one eye, walking around –something that was a simple task just a short while ago- has suddenly become much more complicated. That’s because our three dimensional vision is based on both eyes. Take one eye away and you lose depth perception. Now, imagine that your elderly loved one or the senior patient for whom you’re caring has problems with peripheral vision as well. This can cause a host of problems walking around the house.
Many seniors take a number of medications. The side effects for some of these can be devastating and can cause a wealth of problems, including dizziness, loss or balance, and even vertigo. This can increase the risk of falling, especially down the stairs. Falls and other related accidents in the home are the number one cause of accidental death in seniors.
This is why it’s so important to pay attention to senior home safety and to understand what it’s like to be the senior in that house. Look around and if you see a potential safety risk, address it. This could include installing stair lifts, grab bars, and any other safety equipment.