Top 3 Ways to Prevent Falls in Older People
Fall prevention strategies that yourself and other family members can implement include the following.
1. Make Some Home Modifications
While you might not be able to completely fall-proof your loved one's home, simply making a few changes can help make the home safer. Easy home modifications include installing grab bars and handrails in strategic locations like the bathroom or along stairs and adding non-slip mats to traditionally slick areas, like the bathroom or kitchen. You can even go a step further by adding a shower chair and installing a hand-held showerhead in the bathroom to make it easy to take showers sitting down.
Other good ways to reduce falls in the home include:
- Adding lighting to walkways
- Removing clutter from pathways
- Keeping cords and plugs from electronics safely stowed away
2. Don't Neglect Physical Activity
Muscles can weaken over time, heightening the risk of falling. This risk is easy enough to combat with a simple exercise program that emphasizes both muscle strength (e.g., body weight exercises) and balance or stretching (e.g., tai chi). Even simply taking walks with a loved one can help build strength and coordination.
3. Manage Other Health Conditions
Staying on top of other health conditions can improve all areas of life, including reducing fall risk. Osteoporosis, for example, is especially common in older adults and can enhance their likelihood of not just falling, but experiencing serious injuries from falls. Managing the condition with vitamins and supplements, such as taking vitamin D and calcium, along with any prescription medications and activities prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist, can improve bone density, balance, and coordination—all of which can make someone more resistant to falling.