Best Life: Ways to keep aging loved ones safe at home

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:23 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, MO. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Ninety percent of older Americans say they want to age in place and live in their home and not in an assisted living facility. But every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from the consequences of a fall. But there are simple things you can do to make sure your loved ones are safe in their space.

Sarah Grant, an 84-year-old woman, tells Ivanhoe of a dangerous fall she suffered at home.

“I laid in the yard for about two and a half hours before the next-door neighbor saw me laying there,” said Grant. “I fell going in there into that back room, I couldn’t get up. I could almost write a book for falling.”

“I was stunned to understand that for any older adult, 65 or older, the risk of falling is huge. So, you could have a 25 to 33% chance of falling, even if you don’t have any risk factors for falling,” said Susan Stark, Ph.D., an occupational therapist at Washington University.

A Harvard study found the five most important universal design features in the home are no-step entries, extra-wide hallways, accessible living spaces on the ground floor and accessible light switches and door levers. But the same study found only one percent of homes in America have all five features. But that’s not all you can do.

“Things like these carpets, where the edges can lift up and cause a problem with a walker getting stuck or a foot getting stuck,” said Emily Somerville from Washington University.

Guardrails on steps, benches on tubs and handrails in showers all cut fall risks by 50%. As for Grant, she uses all the help she can get.

“All I had to do was just make myself stop and grab, hold to something,” said Grant.

If you would like a high-tech way to keep a watch on your loved ones without intruding on their privacy, instead of placing video cameras, motion monitors can be installed to alert you if your loved one has not gotten up in the morning, or if there is continued movement in one place.

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

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