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Step up to prevent falls in your senior living facility

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One of the best things about senior living communities is that they give older adults a chance to live independently while providing them with access to essential medical resources as well as a thriving social environment. The freedom these facilities promote is crucial for maintaining quality of life for residents.

But when seniors experience falls, it can seriously damage that sense of freedom and independence. Not only can falls result in injury - sometimes serious injury - but they can also eat away at a senior's confidence, putting a damper on mood, mental health and social life alike. Working to prevent falls is one of the most important things you can do to ensure resident safety on a daily basis. Here are a few things to take into account when planning your fall-prevention program. 

Know the causes

Seniors can take a tumble for a variety of reasons, ranging from medical conditions to state of mind to the environment around them. As a facility manager at an assisted living community, there may be little you can do to prevent health-related falls, but you should still be aware of the contributing factors so you can encourage safety as much as possible. 

Knowing your residents is a key part of this preparedness. That's not to say that you should be on a first-name basis with all of the seniors at your facility, but you should have a general idea of the ages and kinds of disabilities that are represented in your population. This can give you important insight into what sorts of amenities you may need or what hazards you should pay particular attention to. Similarly, keep a record of falls that happen among your residents. A Place For Mom noted that seniors who have fallen previously are between 1.5 and 6.7 times more likely to fall again than those who have not done so before.

Clean up

Medical causes aside, falls are just as likely to happen due to environmental factors. Fortunately, these are largely under your control. For example, if there are any carpeted areas in your facility, ensure the carpet is securely fastened to the floor, as shifting can threaten a resident's footing. Clear hallways of any cords, and keep obstructions like trash cans and side tables well out of the way of traversal lanes. Where possible, try and create clear walking paths through rooms so residents don't have to navigate around large pieces of furniture. Additionally, installing a guide rail along walls in hallways can lend a helping hand to seniors.

Focus on wellness

Once you've done your part to avoid falls, you can help your residents do theirs. Osteoporosis, diabetes and frailty are all common causes of falls, and seniors tend to be particularly prone to these conditions. Consider establishing a community exercise program. Include exercises that focus on strengthening bones and muscles, which will help keep your residents on their feet. As an added bonus, this can promote general wellness if seniors participate regularly. In fact, maintaining an active lifestyle and regularly exercising can help reduce obesity, which can be a major factor in treating and managing many chronic conditions. 

Step up to prevent falls in your senior living facility