Assistive technology such as canes, walkers and other aids must be fitted properly or they could do more harm than good. Finally, performing a simple, but thorough safety assessment of an older adult’s home could identify potential hazards.
Common fixes could include increasing the lighting, especially near the top and bottom of stairs, installing secure rails along both sides of staircases and putting grab bars in the tub or shower and near the toilet. Reducing clutter and rearranging or removing furniture and other hazards to make it easier to move around also could go a long way in preventing falls.
For guidance on how to conduct an assessment, review the Centers for Disease Control’s home assessment checklist at www.cdc.gov/injury. (Click on “Home and Recreational Safety” and select “Falls – Older Adults.”) There are plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to make the home safer for older adults.
It doesn’t take long to screw in a light bulb or tighten a bolt on a stairway railing, and it can go a long way toward reducing the risk of injury to a loved one.
For more information about preventing falls in older adults, visit the National Council on Aging website at http://www.ncoa.org. For more information in Pittsburg County, call 918-423-4120 or log onto www.oces.okstate.edu/pittsburg.
LaDell Emmons is the Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for the Pittsburg County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.