10 tips for seniors to prevent falls

Lisa Wurth

March 12, 2012

There are many ways to prevent seniors from injuring themselves due to falls.Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury in elderly adults. Because of bodily changes and health conditions, it can be difficult to avoid mishaps, even at home. However, with a few preventative measures, it's easy to cut down on much of the risk. Here are a few ways you can help prevent your senior relatives from falling and injuring themselves.

1. Get a physical exam and a bone test. If you take your relative to the doctor and get a bone test, the doctor could prescribe medications that would make your relative's bones harder to break.

2. Regular exercise. If you get your loved one involved with gentle exercises, like swimming or walking, their strength, balance, flexibility and coordination will improve.

3. Sufficient indoor lighting. It's important to ensure that your loved one has adequate indoor lighting in each room, hallway and staircase. Night lights can also help.

4. Bathroom grab bars. If you install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet, your relatives won't have as difficult a time in the bathroom.

5. Medical alert device. A medical alarm system from Bay Alarm could give you and your loved ones peace of mind. At the push of a button, your elderly relatives will be in contact with emergency personnel that can help in any situation.

6. Sturdy shoes. Buy your loved ones rubber-soled, low-heel shoes that will help prevent slips and trips. Be sure they fit properly and are comfortable to walk in.

7. Cut down on hazards. Remove furniture and clutter from high-traffic areas and be sure that all rugs have non-skid padding underneath or are secured to the floor. Place non-slip mats in the shower and use non-skid floor wax when cleaning.

8. Pets. Sometimes, pets can get underfoot and create problems. Tell your relatives to keep track of where their animals are or to be careful when visiting homes that have pets.

9. Get a cane for bad weather. If it's rainy or snowy, you might want to ensure that your loved ones have a cane to use. This can help them avoid slipping on water or ice.

10. Keep track of medications. Some medications can have side effects which can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which might make your loved ones more susceptible to falls. Keep an eye out for any obvious signs and talk to their doctor if you notice issues.