Each year, more than one in three seniors in San Diego sustain falls and serious injuries. In some instances, falls are the result of elder or nursing home abuse and/or neglect. But in other instances, falls are purely accidental.
More and more elders (defined by California statute as those over the age of 65) are choosing to reside in their own home versus living in an assisted living facility or with relatives. Although there are wonderful reasons to live in your own home as long as possible, it’s important to note that elders are at risk of suffering injuries from a fall, which often times could have been prevented.
Typically, falls are responsible for 60% of in-home injuries. However, statistics show that programs to help prevent falls in the home are effective.
Simple Modification: Lighting
When reviewing the current lighting in your home, take into account the following three types of lighting for optimal results:
- Ambient Lighting
- Accent Lighting
- Task Lighting
Generally speaking, a minimum of 30 foot-candles (fc) is required for ambient light, and 100(fc) is required for task. Elders in San Diego who have specific vision issues (e.g., macular degeneration, glaucoma) may have different needs. Discussing your vision needs with an eye-care professional is recommended.
In some cases, elders may need to replace existing light switches with phosphorescent (glow-in-the-dark) lights, pressure plate controls, and/or consider installing motion detectors.
Simple Modification: Home Exterior
Home exteriors present tremendous risk for falls. However a few minor alterations can be made to the exterior for little cost:
- Install handrails to both sides of steps/stairs leading into the dwelling.
- Affix or treat outdoor steps and commonly trafficked surfaces with non-slip material.
Simple Modification: Home Interior
When contemplating changes to the interior of your home in San Diego, some areas require more attention than others. More often than not, the most significant changes are generally required in the bathroom. Some simple tricks can be applied to reduce risk of falling instantly:
- Adding non-slip bath strips or decorative non-slip strips to the bathtub interior
- Placing a non-slip bath mat outside the tub
- Raised and/or padded toilet seat
A basic, but more involved retrofit that will reduce risk of falling includes the installation of grab bars in both the bath/shower and near the toilet. Installing a tub/shower seat can also reduce falling risk for San Diego elders.
Both the kitchen and living areas (including bedrooms) pose moderate to low risk of falling for seniors. However, by employing simple preventive techniques, elders can reduce their risk of falling and subsequent injuries. Here is a short list of tips:
- In living areas and common spaces, arrange furnishings in a manner that provides clear and wide pass-through for easy maneuverability in the space.
- Keep pathways clear of cords and other trip hazards.
- In the kitchen, place items, which are heavy or used most often, at waist level for easy access.
- If it is necessary to place items in above storage bins or attic space, step stools with built-in bracing bars are recommended.
If you are concerned that a friend, family member, or loved one has been suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, or has been injured as a result of a fall, contact an experienced California elder abuse lawyer to evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps. San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney Christopher Walton, has built a reputation for providing compassionate and strong advocacy for victims of elder abuse and their families. Call (866) 338-7079 for a confidential consultation.