How to create a safer environment for elderly people

It’s understandable that people want to live as independently as they possibly can. But living alone at any age can bring concerns about safety and security. The older we get the more mindful we have to be of having an accident. Although our homes are comfortable and familiar, they can still pose a risk for falls – especially for frailer people.

According to an NHS report, falls are, by and large, the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65 and over. And many of them take place in a person’s own home. In fact, government statistics report that falls are the number one reason older people are taken to the emergency department in a hospital. Around a third of people aged 65 or over, and around half of people aged 80 or over, fall at least once a year. 

Read on to find out about some common causes of a fall and what can be done to minimise the risk. If you or a loved one require home care in Blackburn following a fall then our friendly team is here to help you.

Common causes of a fall

Having a fall can happen to anyone. However, as people get older they are more likely to fall over, which can result in injuries. There are many reasons people can have a fall, however, for older people the most common causes are:

  • vision loss
  • muscle weakness
  • balance problems
  • the use of certain medications
  • environmental hazards
  • a long-term health condition

Falls are often caused by environmental risk factors. Thankfully there are many things that you can do to make your home a much safer environment, enabling you or your loved one, to continue living as independent a lifestyle as possible.

Minimise clutter

One of the first things you can do to ensure a safer environment is to minimise clutter around the home. Clutter is very easy to overlook because we tend to adapt to it, and as time goes on we amass more of it.

Look at each room in the house and assess whether you can easily navigate from room to room. Rearrange furniture so that you can comfortably move around. Address common tripping hazards, like extension cables, loose carpets and floorboards, as well as piles of books and magazines. Ultimately, the easiest way to prevent a fall is to remove all potential fall hazards.

Light your home

You can create a safer environment by installing brighter light bulbs in places like hallways and stairways. Poor lighting puts older adults at risk as it becomes difficult to see. As many elderly people get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, it’s imperative that the bathroom and pathway to it are adequately lit. 

Improve safety in the bathroom

Bathrooms are made up of hard materials, such as baths, showers, floor tiling. All of these are designed to get wet, and can become slippery. Make sure you have slip-resistant mats on the bottom of your bath to reduce the chance of falling.

Install rails inside and outside the bath and around the toilet if necessary. You can also purchase shower-chairs to sit on whilst you wash yourself. And be sure to replace old, loose bath mats with slip resistant ones for the floor. 

There are many things that you can do to make the home a safer environment for elderly people, and our carers are trained to spot and remove any trip hazards during their visits. If you would like any more information, or are interested in home care in Blackburn for yourself or a loved one, then contact us on 01254 504905.