“No Fall Zone”:A Caregiver’s Guide to Safe Aging in Place Decreasing falls in the Home Environment By: Melissa Avery, OT/S Kimberly Cabral, OT/S Christine Clark, OT/S Courtney Reilly, OT/S
What is Occupational Therapy?• Occupations refer not only to jobs but also tasks that people have to do or choose to do in their every day lives.• We enable people to continue living life to its fullest through the use of interventions, education, adaptation and modification.• We are knowledgeable about multiple diagnoses and their impact on function.
Why stay at home?• Over 90% of adults over age 65 prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible.• Strong ties to home, community and culture• Aging in place means more than an environment to grow old in. It means home, a place where memories and histories were created.
Making Your Homea “No Fall Zone”Tips for keeping your loved one safe at home.
Facts About Falls• Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults.• According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of three adults aged 65 and older fall each year.• Of those falls, less than half tell their primary healthcare providers about them.• 19,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries in 2008.• In 2009, 2.2 million non-fatal fall injuries in older adults were treated in emergency departments, with 581,000 patients being hospitalized.• Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview (2012) Retrieved May 1, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html
Most Common Causes of Falls in the Home• No single factor causes all falls; however the risk of falls increases with the amount of factors the person is exposed to.• Common Factors Include: • Lack of Physical Activity • Impaired Vision • Medication Use • Environmental Factors • Uncontrolled Diabetes • Poorly-fitted Shoes • Muscle Weakness What is the role of home modifications in fall prevention (2011) Retrieved May 1, 2012, from http://www.homemods.org/about_us/index.shtml
Home Modifications Can Help to Prevent Falls!• Home modifications lessen the physical demands placed on the older person during every day activities• They increase the older person’s safety in their own environment, allowing them to continue to live in their home for as long as possible• Home modifications can range from very inexpensive to expensive, but there are many modifications that can be done by caregivers• Here are some modifications you can make to keep your loved one safe!
Throughout the Home…• Walking surfaces are as level as possible• Use slip-resistant floor coverings such as low-pile carpeting or rough tile• Increase lighting• Color contrasts (lighter color flooring, darker walls)• Install wall-mounted light fixtures• Eliminate use of extension cords• Relocate light switches or install environmental control units that turn on when the person claps or enters a room• Eliminate cluttered hallways• Remove scatter rugs• Clean spills immediately
Kitchen• Increase door width to 30 inches to allow walkers to pass through• Move frequently used objects / products to lower shelves or countertops to avoid over-reaching• Slip-Resistant Tile• Install “drop down” shelving (see picture next slide)• Ensure that a seated food preparation area is available• Combine food preparation area with dining area to eliminate need to transport plates of food
Bathroom• Always keep a night-light on• Install grab bars in tub/shower and near toilet• Non-Skid shower surface• Vary colors in the bathroom for easy visual identification (ie, add decorative, colorful decals to shower if same color as toilet, etc)• Bathroom rugs with non-skid backing only• Walk-In shower• Hand-held shower• Increase door width to allow for walker use• Eliminate threshold if possible; if not, ensure that threshold is brightly colored• Add shower chair/ tub bench
Stairways• Install handrails on both sides of the stairs and extend them one foot past the top and bottom stair• Handrails should be at elbow height• Use color contrasts on first and last steps• Limit stair rise to 7 inches, tread should be at least 11 inches• Install light switches at top and bottom of stairs• Ensure carpeting is secured to the stairs• Install a stair lift if your loved one becomes unable to ascend stairs safely
Bedroom• Install a night-light• Place a lamp at the bedside• Make clear paths• Store flashlights in easy to find locations in case of power outages• Install bed rails to make getting in and out of bed safer• Organize closets to eliminate clutter and make items easy to obtain
Remember…• Always contact your loved one’s doctor if you notice that they are falling or seem more disoriented• Be sure to discuss medication use with the doctor and the impact that the meds can have on falling• Occupational therapists can perform in-home evaluations to assess what modifications your loved one can benefit from