Prevent Falls to Reduce the Need for Nursing Home Care
Given the preference, most older adults would rather remain in their own homes or with family members, rather than requiring nursing home care. In addition to being cost effective, it is generally more comfortable and allows greater freedoms for participating in activities you enjoy. As part of long term care planning, there are numerous resources to consider which could help you stay at home longer, even if you struggle with disabilities or suffer from the ill effects of chronic diseases. Unfortunately, accidental injuries often necessitate the need for more comprehensive care, and falls are the most common.
Fall Injuries Among Older Adults
Accidents can happen in a variety of situations, and older adults in general are among those most at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slips and falls are the most common causes of disability and death for those over the age of 65, with the majority of falls occurring in the home.
CDC statistics show that these injuries impact an estimated 2.8 million people over the age of 65 each year. Among these, more than 700,000 require hospital admittance, while these injuries result in death among older adults roughly once every twenty minutes. Common types of serious and life threatening injuries that occur as the result of falls among older adults include:
- Broken bones, particularly affecting the hips;
- Sprained or torn muscles and tendons,
- Excessive bruising, resulting in nerve damage and blood clots;
- Cuts and lacerations, which are subject to infection;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
To make matters worse, older adults who suffer injuries in falls may be unable to reach the phone or to notify anyone they are in need of help.
Safeguarding Your Home Against Falls
Safeguarding your home against falls is a good way to help stave off disabilities that could result in the need for nursing home care. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that older adults and those caring for them take the following precautions:
- Avoid using throw rugs, which can easier trip older adults.
- Make sure all carpeting and tiles are securely attached to the floor.
- Use plastic mats in areas which might get slippery due to spills or condensation.
- Install handrails in bathrooms and along hallways.
- Arrange furniture to provide plenty of room for walking.
- Make sure your shoes or slippers have non-slip soles.
- Avoid excess clutter and keeping baskets of laundry or magazines on the floor, which could present a hazard.
Protecting yourself against injuries is one of the many things you can do now to help reduce your need for nursing home care. For professional guidance on other ways in which you can cut long terms care costs, contact the Nawrocki Center. Serving the Brighton community for over 50 years, we are a trusted resource when it comes to elder law issues that impact you and your family. Call or contact us online and request a free consultation today.