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by Kent Elliott
Fall Prevention at Home: A Guide for Aging-in-Place Adults
Did you know that 3 million older adults go to the emergency room for fall injuries every year? In fact, one in four seniors will fall each year, leading to over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than $50 billion in medical costs.Unfortunately, many families fail to think seriously about fall prevention before it’s too late. By making these fall prevention tips a priority, older adults and caregivers can avoid falls and enjoy independent living for longer.
Lifestyle changes that fight falling
Lifestyle changes can help seniors to stay strong, healthy, and fall-proof.
- Strength training exercises targeting the lower body build the muscles that seniors need to stay stable on their feet.
- Balance and stability training is another important component of an older adults’ exercise regimen.
- Tai chi and yoga help older adults because they improve both strength and stability. Plus, yoga lessons are readily available
- In addition to exercising regularly, seniors should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can cause weakness and dizziness.
- Indoor air pollution is another insidious cause of lightheadedness in older adults. Cleanliness and moisture control are key to preventing air pollution at home.
Fall-proofing a senior’s home
Beyond lifestyle adjustments, it’s important to age-proof a senior’s home.
- There are little changes that prevent falls at home, like reducing clutter and getting rid of area rugs.
- Aging-in-place remodeling should focus on high-risk areas like entrances, bathrooms, stairways, and kitchens. Lighting is another improvement that makes a big impact on fall prevention.
- Financing is available to help seniors pay for aging in place remodeling.
- In addition to home equity loans and HELOCs, some seniors may qualify for grants.
- When remodeling isn’t economical, relocating is typically the best choice. Selling gives older adults a chance to “rightsize” their home or move to a walkable community.
Preventing falls with technology
Here are three technologies to add to your fall prevention toolkit.
- Medical alert devices are a classic choice for independent seniors. The best medical alert devices offer fall detection that automatically calls for help.
- While alarms like those offered by Lange Medical can’t prevent falls directly, they improve monitoring and ensure assistance is expedient.
- Seniors can also use technology to make life at home more convenient — and, in turn, safer. Smart home devices let seniors control thermostats, locks, cameras, and more using an app or voice control.