Health And Wellness

5 Tips To Prevent Falls At Home & How We Can Help

Published on 17 Dec 2021

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Many people prefer to age in the comfort of their own homes. What can we do to ensure our homes are safe for our loved ones and ourselves?

For many of us, home is the place where we feel safest and happiest. We want our elderly loved ones to feel safe so we can have peace-of mind while we head out for work or run errands.

However, living independently can be difficult for some older family members, especially those who are not as mobile or disabled with conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

To help our loved ones live and age comfortably at home, it is important to provide a safe environment that caters to their needs. Here are five tips to make your home a safer place for seniors.

1. Minimise any risk of falls

Studies have found that the majority of falls among the elderly happen at home[1]. The fear of falls can affect a senior’s quality of life and even prevent them from staying active or doing tasks independently.

To help them reduce the risk of falling, you may consider the following:

  • Provide non-slip floor tiles and secure anti-slip mats in slippery areas such as the bathroom or kitchen
  • Install grab bars or handrails on both sides of the shower area and the toilet seat
  • Tack down carpets and remove loose floor mats
  • Apply non-slip wax on floors
  • Put away wires
  • Ensure any spills are cleaned up as quickly as possible.

2. Remove injury hazards

Hazards at home can come in many forms. Besides keeping common walking areas neat and tidy, we can also reduce the possibilities of our loved ones becoming injured by getting furniture that is senior-friendly. These include tables, chairs and cabinets that do not have any sharp corners, and comfortable seats with good back support.

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Keep common areas, especially narrow walkways, free of clutter to create more space for walking.

3. Make sure your home is well-lit

Common eye problems that result in impaired vision include age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. While the severity may differ for each person, there is no doubt that poor vision significantly impacts an elderly person’s safety and quality of life.

Everyone can benefit from good lighting. Here are some examples of how to provide a well-lit home:

  • Replace faulty or dim bulbs with energy-saving lights
  • Install automatic night lights in places such as bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Place light switches at an easily accessible height, especially if your loved one is using a wheelchair

4. Get rid of clutter and store items away

Some of us may have a tendency to hold on to items that we associate with fond memories. Seniors, especially, may not be willing to part ways with such items. Nevertheless, we can still ensure that clutter does not get in the way, especially for seniors who use assistive devices.

Some ways to do so include getting furniture with storage compartments, such as storage beds. Built-in storage units are also a great way to store items neatly from plain sight.

To prevent items from accumulating, how about some family bonding through decluttering? Allocate an hour or two each week to recycle old newspapers, put away unused items and keep your home neat and tidy with your loved ones. Having an extra pair of hands can help to get the job done quicker too!

5. Keep commonly used items within reach

Ensure that your loved ones can access the items they need by placing them within reach. This is so that they do not exert themselves or risk injury. Here are some tips:

  • Keep reading glasses on side tables beside your loved one’s seat
  • Store commonly used cups and plates at the front of cabinets instead of the back
  • Place medication at easily accessible heights

How we can help

Need some advice on how you can make your home a more elderly-friendly environment? Our Occupational Therapists from NTUC Health’s Home Care team can visit to help assess your loved one’s home. They may also be able to provide recommendations for a safer living environment. Our Care Associates can also visit to provide care for your loved ones in the comfort of home.

If you are not able to make such changes to your home, or prefer centre-based care for your loved one, why not consider our Senior Day Care services?

Find help with caregiving in the day at any of our 24 Day Centre for Seniors located islandwide. At Senior Day Care, your loved ones can socialise and have their needs taken care of in a safe environment.

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Our Day Centre for Seniors (Jurong Central) is uniquely designed to resemble Singapore’s HDB void decks, with doors made to resemble typical lift lobbies. An interest wall features the iconic dragon head playground, and bird cages hung from the ceiling – a common sight in the earlier days.

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When seniors need some private time, the quiet room provides them with a space to relax.

Our Day Centres are also designed to benefit seniors with dementia and promote independence for as long as possible. Said Mr Parry Zhang, our Cluster Manager for Day Care, “We use colours at our day centres to help seniors navigate the steps needed to complete daily activities of living.”

“Frames of light switches may be of different colours to the switches themselves, or toilet bowl seats are of different colours from the toilets. These help to remind seniors with dementia that they should turn on light switches or lift the seats of toilets, and do these daily tasks independently.”

“We also have reminiscence corners with decor inspired from the 60s to help seniors jog their memories and give them points of conversation. By creating such an environment that is familiar, they feel comfortable and respond better,” he added.

Summary

At our day centres, we help seniors stay independent by providing a safe, dementia-friendly environment.

¹Circumstances and outcomes of falls in seniors living in the community (Source)

Get in touch with us

Find out more about our Senior Day Care services here and learn about how we can also support your loved one with essential care while you are at work. Know someone who is interested in enrolling at our Day Centre for Seniors? Call us at 6715 6762 or let us know here!

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