One of the greatest threats to retirees over the age of 65 is slips and falls, which lead to 250,000 being hospitalized in the U.S. each year. Falls can result in fractured hips, ankles and arms, not to mention serious head damage. Below are some ways in which independent living in Brandon, MS can prevent these injuries.
Each Dwelling Uses Non-Slip Flooring
Aside from the fact that retirement communities employ housekeeping teams who will regularly remove floor clutter and trip hazards such as cables, rugs and other items, each dwelling is equipped with non-slip adhesive material on the floors and stairs which will make it harder to slip. Staircases use rails on each side to offer increased protection.
Outdoor Fall Hazards are removed
Retirement communities don’t just restrict themselves to identifying indoor fall hazards, and will remove outdoor hazards as well. This includes slick curbs, icy sidewalks and stairs which are snow covered, all of which can become an issue during winter. The maintenance team will sprinkle sand or salt on the icy surfaces during the colder months, and all residents are encouraged to wear footwear that offers excellent traction.
The chances of falling down are much higher in low lit environments. This is why retirement communities install light switches near the entrance of every room and hall, and the fixtures always have a minimum of 2 bulbs particularly in key areas such as bathrooms and exits. Additionally, 911 switches and flashing deck lights can be used to alert others of an emergency.
In addition to artificial light, retirement community operators also make heavy use of natural light. Not only does it provide excellent visibility during the day, but it gives health benefits to residents and makes aging within place easier. The windows within retirement communities tend to be lower with minimal maintenance exteriors.
Evaluate Eyesight and Medications
Those with compromised vision have a greater chance of tripping, bumping or walking into objects. This is why retirement communities can refer residents to an ophthalmologist who can conduct an eye exam, and provide glasses, contacts or laser surgery as needed, and community caretakers will also review medications to see if they are creating side effects which can increase one’s fall risk.
The Bathrooms are Specially Designed
Studies show that slips and falls frequently occur in the bathroom. This is why retirement community lavatories are specially designed with features such as safety frames, rails, walled grabbed bars and bathtubs which have been lowered so they are easier to access. For the standup style showers, curbless entrances are often used with broader stall space, and the shower seats might also be able to fold down.
Balance Enhancement Activities
Aside from the structural and building specific features that are designed to minimize fall risk in retirement communities, residents are also encouraged to engage in activities that will promote physical balance. As we age, our balance tends to decline, which is one of the reasons why so many elders are injured in falls, but by regularly engaging in activities such as yoga, Pilates and tai chi, the core of the body will become strengthened, which provides greater balance while lowering fall risk.