Winter is upon us in Alaska and with the hustle and bustle throughout the holidays, we have some added concerns and precautions for our clients. If you share your home with or care for an elderly or disabled loved one, preventing falls is a top priority. Falls account for 25% of all elderly hospital admission and 40% of all nursing home admissions. We want to share with you the types of situations that we train our staff at Midnight Sun Home Care to recognize.
Let’s start from the bottom up; rugs are the number one danger zones for the elderly. One of the first things our staff looks for are doormats and loose rugs. The best solution to this is to remove your rugs from all walkways. Another major trouble spot is where the carpeting is coming loose. It takes just a few minutes to smooth these areas out and repair them with a hammer and some nails. Then there are the stairs, which can even be an issue inside a ranch-style home since so often there’s a step-down family area. We’ve found that even after years of habit, an elderly person will gratefully gravitate to using a handrail.
Here in Alaska...
We know about outdoor winter falls and we know how to deal with ice and snow. But along with the gravel and salt, have you considered installing a second hand rail on the outdoor entrance stairway? And while you’re improving the front steps, you may want to check out the possibility of installing an access ramp. Even if, for the present, your loved one walks unassisted, we find that a ramp is always easier then a set of stairs.
Some changes are simple and can be made around the house or found while you’re out running errands. For example, you can replace your standard kitchen step stool with a handlebar one. Create a relaxing bathing experience for your senior loved ones with a hand-held showerhead and a seat for the shower or bathtub. Install hand grab rails for accessibility in the bathroom. There are many grab rail options and we believe that they are a must for the tub, shower and surrounding the toilet. The assistants at Midnight Sun Home Care have also found that replacing light bulbs in dim areas and eliminating electric and phone cords are quick and easy updates.
By making these slight changes and adding precaution, you will create a safe environment for your elderly family members and give yourself peace of mind throughout the holiday season and beyond. While we do hope that these tips prevent falls, we also recommend VoiceCare®, a two-part system with a direct connection to a 24/7 helpline. Contact us to find out more about VoiceCare® and to learn how we can help prolong independence.
We also offer several fun and interactive seminars including “Fall Survival & Prevention for Seniors.” Call us today if you think this would benefit your specific group or organization!