As a family caregiver you know how dangerous it is for your elderly loved one to experience a fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of elderly adults suffer from falls each year throughout the United States, and 1 in 5 of those falls will result in a serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury or broken bone. Finding ways to reduce the risk that your aging parent will fall is an important step in improving their life and supporting them aging in place safely, comfortably, and healthily.
While there are many factors that contribute to fall risk, one that you might not immediately consider is your parent’s home décor. How they decorate their home might just seem like a way for them to personalize their space and create a welcoming, comfortable environment, but the ways that they choose to do this can make a tremendous impact on the chances that they will experience a fall. Modifying these elements of your parent’s home décor can help them to stay on their feet and out of the hospital.
Some of the ways that your parent’s home décor can increase their fall risk include:
• Monochromatic floor covering. Having the same floor covering, whether it is carpet or wood, throughout the home can create a streamlined, flowing look, but it can also make it extremely difficult for your parent to perceive certain risks. If the floor is the same throughout the home, your parent might have trouble perceiving the top and bottom steps or changes in elevation. If this flooring is the same color as the walls, they might also struggle to identify corners and doorframes. Consider adding high contrast tape to steps and other changes in elevation to make them more visible.
• Tightly packed furniture. Having several pieces of furniture throughout the room can create a cozy space, but it can also make it difficult for your loved one to navigate the area. Make sure that the furniture is arranged so that there is a clear walking path that does not require your parent to weave or turn. Remove any furniture that is on wheels or that is not stable enough to withstand your loved one putting their hand on it to stabilize themselves.
• Loose floor coverings. Rugs and runners add an attractive touch to the home, but they can tangle under a senior’s feet or cause them to slip. Elderly adults tend to have less even gaits and may not lift their feet up as much as younger people. Removing these floor coverings or ensuring that they are securely tacked down can help to reduce the chances that they will cause a tumble.
If your aging loved one has low vision, decreased mobility, cognitive decline, or other issues and you are concerned about their ability to stay safe and healthy as they age in place, starting home care seevices for them might be the ideal solution. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule to ensure that they get the focused, highly personalized services that they need to maintain their independence, avoid potentially devastating falls and other injuries, and enjoy an improved quality of life throughout their later years.
This can include helping them to keep their home organized and clean to make navigating it easier, assisting with errands, and providing physical support and assistance with transferring and mobility. This can encourage your senior to live a more active lifestyle while still feeling secure. As their family caregiver, it can give you peace of mind knowing that even when you are not available to be with them, your senior is getting everything that they need, enabling you to manage the other tasks of your life with confidence.
When it comes to helping them reduce their risk of falls in their own home, this care provider can help them find ways to modify their home décor so that it is still welcoming, beautiful, and personalized to your parent, but that also keeps them safe. They can also help your parent find ways that they can cope with the potential risks in their home, such as by encouraging them to use a flashlight when they need to get up in the middle of the night.