A holiday visit with older relatives might be a good chance to help them remove fall risks in their home, an expert suggests.
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. 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,” Geoffrey Hoffman, a fall researcher and assistant professor of nursing at the university shares.
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, and 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:
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 the carpet. Make sure bath mats have rubber backing in good condition.
Offer to help move furniture and other objects to create wider walking paths.