Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. Falls are not only costly in dollars and cents, but also in the quality of life. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, the number of falls among seniors can be reduced substantially.
The following tips can minimize the risk of falls for your loved one:
- Review current medications for side effects and discuss alternatives with their doctor that do not cause drowsiness or dizziness.
- Monitor health conditions and how comfortable your loved one is while walking. Do they feel dizzy? Is there joint pain, numbness in feet or legs, or shortness of breath when they walk?
- Regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling by improving balance, strength and flexibility. Gentle exercises such as walking, water workouts or Tai Chi, a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements, are excellent activities for seniors. Check with your loved one’s doctor first before beginning any physical exercise or activity.
- Check the home for fall hazards.
- Remove electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
- Secure or remove loose rugs.
- Repair loose floorboards or carpeting.
- Move tables, plants, boxes, and other items from high traffic areas.
- Store necessities such as clothing, dishes, food, etc, within easy reach
- Wear sensible shoes. High heels, floppy slippers, flip flops, or shoes with slick soles can cause dangerous falls.
- Use bright lighting in the home to avoid tripping over hard to see objects.
- Use devices to assist with different activities.
- Install raised toilet seats or one with armrests.
- Add grab bars in the tub or shower.
- Add a seat in the shower.
- Install handrails on all stairways.
- Add non-slip treads for all stairways.
Always report any falls to your loved one’s doctor, since their last checkup, even if they were not injured. A fall can alert their doctor to a new medical problem or needed adjustments to current medications. It could also indicate an issue with eyesight that can be corrected. The doctor may suggest a walking aid such as a cane or walker, physical therapy, or other steps to prevent future falls.
Senior fall prevention should be a serious topic for families with aging loved ones. The problem is real, but by exercising caution and taking preventative steps, families can minimize the risks.
Checking the home for safety is part of our in-home assessment for all new clients. Call Allcare Home Health today to schedule an assessment with one of our experienced RNs. (919) 301-0236
Ref: National Council on Aging, MayoClinic.org, National Institute on Aging