Unless you are a senior or a caregiver for a senior, you may be surprised to learn falls are the number one cause of accidents for the elderly. Worse yet, studies show when a senior has a serious enough fall to warrant hospitalization their stay is often longer and more costly then seniors being admitted for any other reason. Even if the senior does not have to go to the hospital, they can often be left with life changing injuries that dramatically affect their quality of life. It is also important to note many of these falls occur at night. For these reasons it becomes crucial that any caregiver or concerned family member know all they can about how to prevent senior falls. Here are 7 tips for senior night safety-
- Lighting is the key: It may seem like common sense that lighting is important however, many seniors simply do not have enough lighting or even strong enough eyesight to navigate their homes at night. Today, there is no reason to have this happen. There are lighting systems which have motion sensors so when the senior gets up at night they will automatically come on. These lights can be placed throughout the home so the individual can easily move from room to room no matter the time of day or night.
- Prevent slips: Many older individuals do not have the strength to prevent slips. It is important to go through the home and look for potential slip hazards. Removing rugs, taking out slippery floor material(replacing it with non-skid), and making sure all floors are straight and even can go a long way toward preventing night falls.
- Provide safety: Many times seniors will slip and fall when arising from bed or trying to sit down on the toilet at night. This can be easily remedied by installing grab bars and handles which can help them becomes steadier as they move from bed to bathroom.
- Look for obstacles: Keep in mind the same path around the home during the day can become an obstacle course at night. Take the time to look through the senior’s home at night and see if there is furniture or other objects which can become barriers to safely moving through the home at night. Sometimes all it takes is just moving something a little to make the home a whole lot safer.
- Provide a way for help: Nearly every day there are stories concerning seniors who have slipped and fallen and are not found for hours or even days. To prevent this from happening consider installing a warning system which will allow your senior to access help even if they have fallen. This can be anything from a bracelet or necklace which can be set off for help or a complete video system that allows someone to see if they have fallen.
- Consider the clothes they wear: Seniors often have certain nighttime habits and one of those may be what they wear to bed. However, those slippers (no matter how pretty), can be a fall hazard if the soles are too slippery or the heels to high. Bedclothes can catch on objects and easily pull a fragile senior done. While it may be hard to discuss with a parent or other loved one, helping them select the right nighttime clothes can offer them another layer of safety.
- Realize there is no one size fits all solution: Finally it is important to keep in mind each person will have specific needs which can help to prevent falls of any kind. Taking the time to assess each individual’s needs is crucial.
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.