If you're the primary caregiver for an elderly loved one – or have been in the past – you'll know that arguably the biggest concern that keeps you up at night (or distracted and worried throughout your waking hours) is the risk of a fall.
Even the most independent seniors are at risk for a fall -- we all weaken and lose some of our coordination to an extent as we age. Seniors don't have to be unhealthy or struggling with any particular ailment of to take a tumble.
For a variety of reasons, our elderly loved ones are far more prone to a serious injury when falling than their younger counterparts. In fact, among adults age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury and death and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries.According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three adults age 65 and older fall each year.
Here's a look at a few preventative steps to take to help eliminate falls.
Maintaining and even increasing leg strength is an important part of this. Regular exercise helps, but even simply getting up from their chair or bed and walking around the house a few times a day to stretch their muscles will help. If they're able, going for walks around the neighborhood is a great prevention method, too. Staying active does a lot for preventing falls.
The older we get, the more medications we're on. Sometimes, medications can interact negatively with each other and create a reaction. Among those reactions, dizziness is a common side effect. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about the different medications taken by your loved one, and ask specifically if they can cause dizziness when taken with any other medications. If so, ask for a different medication to prevent it.
It might seem tedious, but a regular checkup can make a world of difference. If your loved one is feeling different than usual – even if it's not necessarily bad – it's important to let their doctor know. If they're feeling any dizziness, tell their doctor so they can determine why. Additionally, getting eyes checked regularly and maintaining vision is important and helps prevents falls. Keeping glasses up-to-date is just as important.
Getting a cane or a walker if needed is as important a step as any, but it's also imperative to make sure those work properly. If the device is getting caught on floors or carpets, that too could cause a fall, so don't hesitate to put tennis balls on the bottom of the walker if it's necessary to help it move around the house.
Things like shower chairs and railings in the bathroom and shower can help your elderly loved ones stand up and sit down easier. If it's in the budget, a bathroom redesign that includes a walk-in shower (as opposed to stepping over a tub wall) can help too.
Other options include things like stairlifts, a lifting chair, and a ramp to the outside door.
Having a bit more of an open layout might be a big help. Something as simple as a somewhat narrow path between a TV stand and a couch/coffee table that never posed a problem before can suddenly not be enough space or be an obstacle to trip on. Moving things around and allowing for more comfortable walking areas helps alleviate those issues.
In-Home Senior Care
Did you know Senior Helpers offers personal care that assists your elderly loved ones in day-to-day personal tasks like bathing and getting dressed? It's easy to slip or trip while doing both of these activities, but with this personalized care, they'll have someone to help them throughout the process to ensure that they stay safe.
Have another question about preventative steps to take, or interested in speaking to us about services? Contact Senior Helpers today and learn more about our in-home senior care on our website.