As our loved ones age, their risk of falling increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four Americans 65 and older falls each year. While most falls do not result in serious injury, they can be life-threatening for an aging loved one.
At Senior Health Care Solutions, we know how devastating a fall can be and how important it is to try and prevent them in the first place. If you are a caregiver or concerned child of an elderly loved one, it’s important to take steps to prevent falls and keep them safe. Keep reading to learn seven ways you can help prevent falls in the elderly.
What Causes Falls in the Elderly?
Before we dive into the fall prevention tips, let’s first discuss the most common reasons for falls in older adults. Understanding these risk factors can help you identify potential hazards and take steps to prevent falls.
- Poor balance and mobility: As we age, our balance and mobility can decline, making us more prone to falls.
- Medication side effects: Certain medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or other side effects that increase the risk of falls.
- Vision problems: Poor vision or visual impairments can make it difficult to navigate the environment and avoid hazards.
- Environmental hazards: Cluttered floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and other environmental hazards can increase the risk of falls.
- Chronic health conditions: Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke can affect mobility and balance, increasing the risk of falls.
- Muscle weakness: Weak muscles can make it more difficult to maintain balance and prevent falls.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol can impair balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls.
Why is Fall Prevention so Important?
Falls among the elderly can have serious consequences. They can lead to broken bones, head injuries, and other injuries that can limit mobility and independence. Falls can also cause fear and anxiety, leading to a decreased quality of life. In some cases, falls can even be fatal. Taking steps to prevent falls can help keep your loved one safe and preserve their independence.
How to Prevent Falls in the Elderly
Here are seven ways you can help prevent devastating falls in your senior loved ones. Whether they live independently or in the home of a loved one or an assisted living facility, these tips can help to save a life. They will also help to increase your loved one’s overall well-being and comfort.
1. Keep the home safe
Making modifications to the home environment can reduce the risk of falls. Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter from walkways. Install handrails in stairways and grab bars in the bathroom. Ensure that all rooms are well-lit, and consider adding nightlights to hallways and bathrooms.
2. Encourage physical activity
Regular exercise can improve balance, strength, and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls. Encourage your loved one to engage in activities such as walking, yoga, or physical therapy. Consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine.
3. Review medications
Certain medications can cause dizziness or other side effects that can increase the risk of falls. Review your loved one’s medications with their healthcare provider to identify any potential hazards. Be sure to follow dosage instructions carefully and avoid mixing medications or alcohol.
4. Schedule regular vision exams
Poor vision can make it difficult to navigate the environment and avoid hazards. Schedule regular vision exams for your loved one to ensure that their prescription is up-to-date and that they have any necessary vision aids such as glasses or contacts.
5. Use assistive devices
Using assistive devices such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs can significantly improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Make sure that your loved one is using the appropriate device for their needs and that it is properly fitted.
6. Encourage healthy habits
Maintaining healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep can improve overall health and reduce the risk of falls.
7. Stay connected
Regular communication with your loved one can help identify potential hazards or concerns. Consider installing a medical alert system or using a smartphone app to stay connected in case of an emergency.
Senior Health Care Solutions Understands the Importance of Fall Prevention in the Elderly
For us at Senior Health Care Solutions, we understand that not everyone knows the serious risk of falls – or how to prevent falls in the elderly. We often see patients at their worst post-fall, either in orthopedic recovery or physical therapy after a broken hip.
The best way to prevent a serious fall is to take the necessary precautions at home. Moving furniture, eliminating throw rugs, and adding night lights are all simple steps that can make a big difference in creating a safer environment. If these are not enough, speak with your loved one’s primary care physician to discuss whether mobility aids are needed.
If independent living is no longer an option due to your loved ones’ increased fall risks, we can help. Our skilled nursing facilities and personal care residences can receive the assistance they need in a carefully-controlled environment, minimizing the risk of life-threatening falls.
To learn more about how our staff helps our patients and residents stay safe and comfortable, reach out to us at email@example.com, or call (570) 969-2188.
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