By: Ken Martin, Senior Living specialist at Good Samaritan Society and Matter of Balance instructor through Crow Wing Energized
As we start to age, the risk for falls increases more and more the older we get. In fact, one out of every three adults ages 65 or older fall each year.
There are many different ways that we can help decrease the risks of falling in our homes, however sometimes we need a little help from the outside world to make our chances of falling less. Most seniors are an active part of our community out and about shopping, dining or attending events on a regular basis. So at your place of employment, worship or volunteering take a look around and address some of common fall hazards that exist.
The first thing would be to set up a daily routine of walking around your business or location looking for possible obstacles in the isles or items that haven’t been put away yet. Consider if their is equipment that is frequently used but not put away.
Another item to consider is marking steps or uneven ground with bright colors. Variations in floor height, even slight, can impact he stability of someone.
The next item to look at would be things like throw rugs or loose carpeting that could create a tripping hazard. Walking surfaces account for a significant portion of injuries as reported by the State of Minnesota.
Much like looking at the floor, we should spend a little time looking up at the lighting in our stores as well. Many seniors are impacted by different forms of eye diseases that can reduce their vision and are not able to see as well when dim lighting is used. Making sure all the isle or walk ways are lit well.
In a home, falls are of higher risk in bathrooms. Much like our home we should make frequent visits to the bathrooms to make sure the floor is dry and there are no loose paper towels or other obstructions lying on the floor that could cause a fall. I am pleased to often see cleaning schedules posted in area community restrooms. Remember to thank staff for not only cleaning this space but also making it safe!
Moving out doors and looking at the sidewalks and parking lots would be the next concern. With winter approaching, have a plan and the proper equipment to keep the sidewalks clear. This may include applying salt. In the summer time, making sure handicap spots are marked well and have a ramp accessible for those with walkers. Also repair any holes and uneven joints in the parking lot or walkways. One last thing to look at outside is, as our daylight gets shorter, have proper lighting on the outside of the building much like having the proper lighting on the inside.
These are just a few suggestions in looking to help prevent falls, and helping our seniors to enjoy a quality of life by being able to be out and about in a safe walk at our many different businesses and organizations.
To learn more about preventing falls through Matter of Balance classes, checklists for making your home safe and more visit CrowWingEnergized.org.