Did you know that one out of four senior Americans falls each year? In fact, falls are the top cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among people over the age of 65. It causes hip fractures, broken bones, and even head injuries for some which increases their risk of falling into depression or fearfulness thereby hindering them from being fully active.
With that said, if you have an elderly loved one living at home or an older neighbor who you’re close with, taking safety precautions can help reduce the instances of falls thus making sure that they stay independent and healthy even with age.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent falls from happening. All you need to do is to look. For instance, these factors may contribute to falls:
Impairments in Vision
As a person grows older, lesser light can pass through their eyes’ retina making it even harder for them to have a clear sight. As a result, their vision prevents them from seeing any upcoming obstacles or can create uneven edges and tripping hazards.
The environment in which the senior is currently situated in can also be added to the risk factor of falls. A lot of older people have been living in their homes for so long that sometimes, they don’t see the need or consider making some minor adjustments that would help them avoid the instances of falls.
Balance and Gait
More often than not, older people experience a higher risk of falls due to the fact their balance and coordination skills are gradually declining with age. Sometimes, inactivity could also be a cause for the loss of balance.
Chronic conditions are usually common among older people. In fact, 80% of seniors are reported to have chronic conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Oftentimes, these diseases could increase the risk of falls since these usually cause loss of function, inactivity, and pain.
Even if they’re prescription medicines, some over-the-counter meds can cause light-headedness in some seniors which could increase the risk of falls in older people.
6 Tips to Prevent Falls Among Seniors
Let’s look at these six simple tips on how to help prevent your senior loved one from experiencing falls:
- Encourage them to take simple steps to prevent falls from happening.
Asking your loved one about their concerns about falling can help you determine whether or not they have thought about what to do if ever they will experience a fall. A lot of seniors know that they have a risk of experiencing falls, however, some of them doesn’t think that it would happen to them or if it did, it wouldn’t injure them. A great way to pique their interest is by talking about NCOA’s Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls. If they’re worried about losing balance and falling, they may consult a professional that could evaluate their risk and arrange a plan or service that may be of help to them.
- Sit and talk about their current condition
Find a way to learn about your loved one’s current health condition. Are they experiencing some kind of pain or discomfort lately?Do they remember to take their medications regularly? Are they experiencing some side effects from their prescriptions?Are you noticing that they constantly need assistance in doing a basic everyday routine?
Medicare also offers some advice on how to preventive benefits including the Annual Wellness visit so you might also want to make sure that your loved one is taking advantage of that. Try to talk to them about being open to their physicians or caregivers about what they really feel or their other concerns so that they may be able to get help.
- Ask them when they last got their eyes checked
This is especially important if your senior loved one is wearing prescription glasses. It’s important to keep their eyeglasses prescription up to date as per the doctor’s advise. [G2]
It’s also important to note that glasses with a changing tint can be dangerous especially when a senior goes in from the sun into a dark place. One helpful way to remedy this is to change glasses immediately upon entering a building or stopping for a while until their eyes adjust to the brightness of the surroundings.
Eyeglasses can also be a hazard when stairs are involved thus the need for seniors to be extra cautious. It’s important for your loved one to consult an eye specialist every now and then so that they could ensure that their eyesight is in its perfect condition.
- Pay special attention if they are holding on to the walls or furniture for extra support or have a difficulty standing or walking
All these are a tell-tale sign that your loved one may need to see a physical therapist. This way they can undergo therapy to repair or improve their balance, strength, and gait through a series of exercises with the assistance of a professional therapist. A cane or a walking aid may also be recommended for seniors to serve as a support when standing or walking. Make sure to follow their instructions carefully. An unfit walking aid may cause an increased chance of falls.
- Discuss their medications.
If you notice your loved one having a hard time remembering their medications or suffering from any side effect, encourage them to take their concerns to their doctor or pharmacist and advise them to have their prescription checked each time they get a new one.
Keeping a sheet to track your loved one’s medication schedule may also be of help. A timed medication box could also help your loved one follow the right schedule for their medications and could put your mind at ease.
You also need to be aware of over-the-counter non-prescription medicines – especially anesthetic or pain reliever drugs with “PM” on their labels – since these can cause light-headedness that can mess with a senior’s balance. If your loved one has trouble sleeping, advise them to talk to their doctors about it.
- Do a thorough evaluation of their home.
Keeping a home safe doesn’t need to be an expensive task. In order to keep a home safe, check the following might help:
- Stairs: See to it that the stairs have steady rails your senior loved one can hold on to.
- Lighting: Make sure that the stairs are well lit, especially the top and the bottom.It’s also important to keep the lights are always available in case they get up in the middle of the night.
- Bathrooms: Set up bars which they can hold onto in the shower and near the toilet. For maximum safety, replace their showers with a hand held one and place a shower chair in the shower.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also has a multi-lingual checklist which you can use to assess the safety of a home for a senior. Along with CDC, NCOA and the Administration on Aging also offers a wide range of activities and programs for seniors that can help them reduce the risk of falling. Check out what activities are available in your area by calling the Area Agency on Aging.
At Vista Living Senior Care, our team helps seniors improve the quality of their life by making our purpose built 10 resident Luxury Senior Care Homes in the Phoenix Arcadia area something special. We focus on Care, Healthier Diet and an Activity Program Focused on Smiles & Laughter.
Sit and Be FIT exercises start our days and attendance is impressive with no one showing up late.
We urge you to consider Vista Living Senior Care for your loved one, please schedule a tour and learn how we can help. We know we have something special. Let us show you.
For more information please call Vista Living Senior Care at 480-456-1919 or Visit VistaLiving.net.