The National Safety Council designated June as National Safety Month. The goal of the month is to help keep people safe by looking at some of the risks they face. For your mom, her risk of falling in her home should be your and your home care provider’s priority.
Get Proper Fitting Shoes
If your mom’s shoes do not properly fit her, the risk of a fall increases. Take her to a shoe store that has professionals that can measure her feet to ensure she has the right size. As different shoe manufacturers often use different size guidelines, ask the footwear professional what brands are best for her size.
Grab Bars Are Essential
The shower and bathtub area need grab bars. Your mom will hold them for support while she climbs in and out of the tub area. If space is limited, get grab bars that have a lower bar for hanging towels.
Grab bars should also be located near the toilet. Add them to the side of the toilet and behind it. The ADA offers guides on the proper height and placement.
Secure Handrails Are Needed
How many flights of stairs are in your mom’s home? Make sure both sides of the stairs have sturdy rails. They need to be anchored to wall studs and not just the paneling or sheetrock.
Outdoor stairs need to have rails, too. Check the stairs from decks, porches, and going into the garage. If there isn’t a rail, one needs to be added.
Non-Slip Flooring Is Important
Slippery flooring is one reason an older adult falls. Your mom has wood floors throughout her home, does she have decorative rugs? If they’re not covered in a non-slip backing, they need to go. Even with non-slip backing, her cane, walker, or toes could catch on an edge and increase the risk of a fall.
In the bathroom, tile flooring is slippery when wet. Consider adding non-slip rugs outside of the shower stall or bathtub to help prevent a fall. In the kitchen, a kitchen mat in front of the sink helps add traction in an area where water may spill onto the floor while washing a large pan.
Look at Her Medications
Some medications have side effects that increase the risk of a fall. Look for side effects like dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness. If the medications have those side effects, she should take them and sit down for an hour or two. If she has to walk around, make sure a caregiver is there to support her.
After a fall, make sure your mom isn’t alone and putting her safety at risk. If she fell while going down the stairs to the laundry room, it’s time to have someone help her on laundry days. If she fell getting out of the shower, have someone there to help support her.
Call an elder care agency to learn more about these and other beneficial elder care services. A professional appraisal of your mom’s home and care needs is the best way to help her age at home safely and independently.