Striving for Safety: Fall Prevention Interventions
The goal of helping vulnerable older adults to remain safe at home is often elusive, particularly when caregivers are only in their clients’ homes for a limited number of hours each week. Add complicating factors such as the staggering statistics that 5.4 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, as reported by the Alzheimer’s Association, and that 80% of the long-term care population is diagnosed with some form of dementia, and the goal of safety becomes even harder to attain.
Home Care Partners, a nonprofit home care agency in Washington, D.C., recognized the increased risks and consequences of falls among those with cognitive impairments, especially dementia. A questionnaire was developed to focus on the following risk factors in order to target and minimize fall risks:
- Does the client have a documented diagnosis of dementia or confusion?
- Is there a previous history of falls?
- Was the client alone at the time of the fall?
- Does the client have a visual impairment?
- Does the client use an assistive device for safe ambulation? Was the device in use at the time of the fall?
- Does the client have urinary incontinence or urgency problems?
Live Free Home Health Care, a family-owned agency providing home care for older adults from Campton to Concord, prides itself on delivering the highest level of quality care to its clients and educated, experienced support to its caregivers. LFHHC offers tips on preventing falls in the home:
- Outdoors: Repair cracks and abrupt edges of sidewalks and driveways, install handrails on stairs and steps, keep walk areas clear of clutter, rocks and tools, and install adequate lighting by doorways and along walkways leading to doors.
- All Living Spaces: Use a change in color to denote changes in surface types or levels (excessive patterns or colors can potentially cause anxiety in Alzheimer’s and dementia clients), secure rugs with non-skid tape as well as carpet edges; reduce clutter, check lighting for adequate illumination and glare control, arrange furniture so that you can easily move around it, and make sure appliance cords are out of the way.
- Bathrooms: Install grab bars on walls around the tub and beside the toilet, strong enough to hold your weight; install a portable, hand-held shower head, and add a padded bath or shower seat.
If you or a loved one is at risk of falling or is in need of assistance to maintain their independence at home, Live Free Home Health Care can help to provide caregiving services for older adults in the home. Please visit www.livefreehomehealthcare.com or call us at 603 217 0149.
For more tips on fall prevention, home modifications and alterations, please visit the links below.
Home modifications for safer aging in place
Overcoming physical difficulties through home alterations