November 21, 2019

Tips to help keep your aging parents safe at home

shutterstock_345680966 Older person with a cane sitting with a younger person

Taking steps to reduce fall risks will not only keep your parents safe, but it will give you peace of mind.

Falls can happen under the best of conditions, but you can eliminate the number of risks by using common sense and a bit of planning.

Tips to help your aging parents avoid falling

Use these tips to keep your parent safe and avoid a fall.

  1. Install grab bars: These can be installed throughout your parent’s home giving them the extra balance and support they might need to continue to feel independent as they navigate their own home.

  2. Provide physical assistance: An extra helping hand to offer support and balance during daily tasks can help reduce fall risks. If you are not able to be in the home with your parent as often as you would like, check into the availability of an elder care provider or volunteer.

  3. Improve home lighting: Dark areas in the home can make it harder for your parent to see potential falls risks like the edge of furniture, steps or items on the floor. Adding extra lighting throughout the home can help them better navigate and avoid a fall.

  4. Nightlights: Nightlights can be used to light the path from bed to bathroom, kitchen or any place in the home that they may need to go at night.

  5. Remove tripping hazards: Clear walkways of electrical cords, pet toys and any other tripping hazard.  Walk through the home and see it from your parent’s eye. Could it be a hazard? Remove it.

  6. Remove slipping hazards: All carpets and rugs should be flat and stay in place. If rugs are slippery, replace or use carpet tacks or tape.

  7. Footwear: Recommend supportive, non-skid shoes that fit well.

  8. Stairways: Install handrails on both sides of the stairs. Repair loose or uneven steps. Use good lighting.

  9. Chair sturdiness: Make sure chairs are steady and have an armrest that make it easier to support yourself as you stand.

  10. Furniture: All furniture, especially near a walkway, should be sturdy enough to support the weight of your parent if they need to reach out to steady themselves or stop a fall.

  11. Exercise: An increased fall risk often comes from a lack of mobility. Encourage your parent to stay active on a regular basis and keep their body strong. This will not only help to reduce the chances your parent will fall but can also help to prevent serious injuries if they do suffer a fall.