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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that six out of every ten falls happen at home. For older adults, those falls can result in hospitalizations and devastating injuries as reflected in NIH statistics:
  • Each year, more than 1.6 million older adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries
  • Falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths
  • Fractures caused by falls can lead to hospital stays and disability
  • Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury and a leading cause of injury and loss of independence
There are many ways to prevent falls in the home including the removal of scatter rugs and clutter on the floor. Grab bars should be installed in the bathrooms and railings should be secure. Perhaps one of the most important fall prevention strategies is to ensure that good lighting is in place both inside and outside the home. Whether your loved one lives alone or in your home, assess the placement and brightness of lighting. Lighting at outdoor entrances: Make sure there is enough lighting at the entrance to the home and on walkways. Look for shadows or low lighting and address it. Make sure that each light fixture uses the highest wattage bulb recommended. Consider installing spotlights at doorways and stairs. Bright lighting is essential inside the entrance: Switches should be as close to the door as possible. This is a good place to have a light on a timer so that it turns on before it is completely dark outside and the senior can walk into a lighted house. Good lighting is important for the full length of the stairs. Stairways are hazardous for everyone, but especially those whose eyesight may be impaired. Light switches at both the top and the bottom of the stairs are important. Light fixtures should be bright enough to illuminate each step. Room lighting: Lamps should be within easy reach for your loved one while he or she is sitting in a chair or lying in bed. Reaching can result in falls and that is what we are trying to avoid. Lamp cords should not be a trip hazard. Night lights: Night lights are very helpful in preventing falls. They should be used in nearly every electrical outlet in the home; in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, kitchen, living and dining areas. Don’t forget flashlights: Make sure that there is a flashlight by your loved one’s bedside. Check the batteries from time to time to make sure the light works. A flashlight can be invaluable in many circumstances; if your loved one can’t reach the lamp or if the power goes out. You may not have time to review and assess lighting in your home, or that of your loved one. Home Care Assistance can do that for you. We are trusted, preferred providers who will work to ensure that the home is well lit and “fall-proofed”.
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