During the Holidays, Help Protect the Elderly from Falls

Older adults’ risk of falling may have increased during the pandemic due to declines in physical activity and mobility.  Along with increased isolation, a University of Michigan poll shows that many also became more fearful of falling, which, in turn, can increase the risk.

“Taking steps now to reduce fall risk in their homes could prevent catastrophic injury and hospitalization,” said Geoffrey Hoffman, a fall researcher and assistant professor of nursing at the university.

Older people whose mobility declined during the first part of the pandemic were 70% more likely to say they’d had a fall in that time.  Additionally, they are twice as likely to express a fear of falling, the poll revealed.

“Even if an older adult has gotten more active since getting vaccinated, their risk of falling could still be higher than it would have been if the pandemic hadn’t increased their inactivity or isolation,” Hoffman said in a university news release.

He offered some tips on fall-proofing older adults’ homes:

11 Ways to Prevent Falls during the Holiday

Rugs and mats: Cut pieces of non-skid material to fit underneath small throw rugs and mats. If they already have non-skid material, check that it still grips the floor. Throw rugs/mats should only be used on bare floors, not on top of carpet. Make sure bath mats have rubber backing in good condition.

Furniture placement: Offer to help move furniture and other objects to create wider walking paths.

Bathrooms: A grab rail in the tub/shower is a good idea.  In addition, a rubber mat with suction cups or a stool with non-skid feet is also good. If possible, a walk-in shower is much better than a tub.

Lighting: Dark hallways, stairways, closets with high shelves and outdoor steps are fall risk areas. Install brighter light bulbs or new fixtures that take multiple bulbs. Also, add motion sensors so lights come on automatically when someone enters the area.  You might also consider night lights that come on when it gets dark or have a motion sensor.

Safe reaching: Encourage use of a folding step stool that has multiple steps and a high hand rail instead of a small stool or chair.   When seniors want to reach things on high shelves or change a light bulb, clock or smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries, they need to have a sturdy base.

Sensible storage: Occasionally, help them reorganize storage to place items on lower shelves.

Railings and steps: Check railings on stairways and porch steps to make sure they’re securely anchored. If steps can become slippery, add stick-on traction strips.

Seasonal decor: Offer to bring holiday decorations and lights from the attic, an upstairs room or basement, and to help put them up.

Ice problems: Make sure older adults have a good supply of de-icer or sand to use on steps, walkways and driveways. For those who can’t easily lift a heavy jug, transfer the de-icer or sand to a container with a lid and add a scoop so they can scatter it more easily.

Snow removal: Make sure their snowblower is in good working order and that shovels, car scrapers and brushes are close at hand and in good shape. If an older person uses a shovel, it should have a back-saving handle to provide more stability when shoveling and prevent muscle strains.

More outdoor hazards: Make sure outdoor lights work and have automatic sensors. Check doormats to make sure they won’t slip. Clean gutters above entrances so melting snow doesn’t collect on steps and form ice.

More information The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about falls and fall prevention

Fall Detection Device

Fall Detection: 4 Essential Parts of a Fall Prevention Plan

Fall Detection: Is it time for your senior to get serious about avoiding a fall?

Aging adults who fall once are twice as likely to fall again, and that next fall can be devastating to your senior’s overall health. Having a fall detection plan is a vital part of ensuring that she’s able to stay as healthy and as independent as possible.


Fall Detection Device

Fall Detection Device


Remove Clutter

The first thing to do when you and your senior are planning ways to prevent falls is to look at her environment. Take a quick tour through her home and look critically at how much space she has to walk in and whether there is clutter or anything else on the floor that could present a tripping hazard. Put together a plan for clearing as much space as possible as quickly as you can.

Assess Fall Risks

Next, it’s time to talk with your senior’s doctor about her fall risks. This can involve health issues she’s managing, medications that she is taking, and other things like her vision and her hearing. Put together as complete a list as possible of what increases your senior’s likelihood of falling and what reduces those risks. This is going to be a big part of the fall prevention plan.

Consider Exercise

One of the best ways to help your senior to prevent a fall is to find out whether exercise is an option for her. Her doctor may have some specific recommendations. Walking, yoga, or tai chi are great ways for your elderly family member to improve her balance and her strength without wearing herself out. By sticking with a regular exercise plan, she may significantly reduce her fall risk.

Fall Detection: Use a Medical Alarm

Medical alarms that offer fall detection are another critical piece in the plan you’re putting together. These devices work around the clock to immediately get help if your senior does experience a fall. They can be the key to helping your senior to age in place and to maintain her independence for as long as she wants to do so.

Even the best fall prevention plans need to be revised now and again. Take some time to periodically review what’s working with your senior’s fall detection plan and what isn’t. Then assess what needs to be changed so that the plan is more likely to be effective for her. If you do this a few times a year, you’ll be able to be proactive about adjusting for changes as they happen.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering choosing Fall Detection in South County, MO, please contact the friendly staff at Around The Clock Medical Alarms.
Call Us: 877.449.5566