Articles by Ceri Wheeldon
I was recently commissioned by Bathing Solutions to give my thoughts on this very topic
Many of us are finding ourselves part of the sandwich generation – with both children and parents needing help.
One aspect of looking after parents as they age is ensuring they can live independently in a safe environment for as long as possible.
Falls are one aspect of the elderly living alone where we can take steps to minimise the risk. There are typically more than 250,000 emergency hospital admissions in the UK for patients over the age of 65. So what can be done to reduce the risk of falls?
Secure the edges of any loose rugs to the floor with double sided tape.
Minimise clutter – keep any electrical wires and cords etc away from areas that are walked on.
Make sure that any loose floorboards are secured.
If practical replace slippery flooring (such as porcelain tiles) with non-slip flooring
Make sure that all areas are well lit. Install lights that are linked to sensors /timers – battery operated candles with timers are an easy and affordable option .
Adding colour contrast between steps/stairs can help better define the space.
Ensure that there are hand rails where needed – stairs and bathrooms are obvious areas
Place non-slip mats in showers and baths
Place items in cupboards and on shelving within easy reach to avoid the need to step ladders .
If there is not one already, is it possible to install a cloakroom downstairs to reduce the need for frequent trips up and down stairs?
If they have pets, suggest they have a collar with a bell so that they know when the pet is close by.
Flexibility and balance
Flexibility and balance are key factors in falling. Encourage your parent/parents to continue to keep moving and keep exercising. There are many classes offering gentle yoga and pilates classes geared specifically towards seniors – as well as helping with balance and flexibility they also offer a social outlet – a additional bonus. Resistance exercises help prevent bone loss – a factor in fractures in falls of the elderly.
Encourage frequent eye and hearing tests.
Check footwear – are shoes supportive and soles non-slip?
Small, simple changes can make a big difference to minimise the risk of falls at home. As the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure!!