The center for disease control reports that among people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Each year in the United States, nearly one third of older adults experience a fall. The majority of falls occur at home and most fractures reported by older adults are the result of a fall. Falls can lead to a tragic loss of an older person’s independence and mobility. Given the vastly growing population of the 65+ age group, the direct costs (nationally) for nonfatal injuries related to falls is expected to reach as much as $44 billion by 2020.
Each year, millions of people over 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall injuries associated with stairs, bathtubs, furniture, carpeting and other products seniors live with and use every day. Many of these accidents could be prevented. It is estimated that simple modifications to the interior of the house can cut a mature adults risk of falling in half. Changes in furniture arrangement, housekeeping, bathroom safety and lighting will definitely help reduce the risk of falling at home.
We asked Dr. Alexis Abramson, the author of The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors, a list of important questions to help you determine if your aging loved ones home, or your own home, is safe for a mature adult.
Q: Where in the home is considered the most dangerous place that seniors need to be most careful?
The bathroom is one of the most hazardous places in the home for accidents; the majority of broken hips are the result of slipping in the bathtub. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there are more than 300,000 bathroom accidents each year and that at least 2.5 million adults over the age of 65 need special assistance in bathing.
Q: What are some of the best things to do to prevent these bathroom accidents?
Q: What about stairs and steps, what should be done?
Q: What are some home safety tips for living areas?
Q: How about the Kitchen?
Q: And Bedrooms?
Q: Do you have any additional home safety tips?
Yes, smoke detectors should be installed in the home and checked periodically to be sure that they work. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) home fires are more deadly than all others combined and for those individuals 65 or older, the fire death risk is twice as high as that of the average population.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
National Fire Protection Association