For the second time recently, the oldest living U.S. President is recovering from a serious fall. Ninety-five-year-old Jimmy Carter is recovering from a fractured pelvis. He is one of 50 million seniors living in the U.S. currently, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one out of four seniors experience a fall each year.
Visiting Angels works to educate seniors and their loved ones about how to keep senior loved ones from tripping and falling while navigating through rooms and hallways in the family home.
- More than half of falls happen either inside or near the home.
- Hip fractures, like President Carter’s injury, are the most common injury caused by falls.
- People who fall once are more likely to fall again.
- Most falls are preventable.
Visiting Angels caregivers can help families take steps to prevent their loved one from getting hurt. Their program, called Safe & Steady, keeps local seniors secure at home.
Safe & Steady: How to Prevent a Fall
- Review medications - Ask the doctor about the drugs a loved one is taking. If they take multiple medications, there is chance interactions could cause them to get dizzy or lose their balance.
- Safety inspection - Walk through the house and look for tripping hazards, like electrical cords, throw rugs, pet bowls, stacks of magazines or other clutter. Visiting Angels caregivers use a check list in homes to help families assess potential risks and correct them.
- Reorganize for easy access - Whether in the kitchen, bathroom or living room, make sure anything a senior uses daily is easy to reach. Move things like dishes, laundry detergent or towels to lower shelves or cabinets. Step stools are not advised.
- Steady the stairs - Any stairwell, small or large, should be checked closely. Make sure handrails are tight, and install new ones if necessary. Add a strip of reflective tape to the edge of each step to make it visible.
- Light up the place - Keep the home well lit. This might require adding night lights to bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways or stairwells. Dark rooms increase the likelihood of a fall. Always keep a flashlight at the bedside for emergencies.
- Schedule an eye exam - The slightest change in vision can make a senior unsteady. Get vision checked at least once a year.
Visiting Angels caregivers follow this advice and more to keep local seniors safe in their homes every day.