Falls and the elderly can make for an unsafe combination. As many as one in four seniors will experience a fall, and after falling, the danger of falling again doubles. Elderly falls often result in E/R visits, head injuries, fractures, and hospitalizations – not to mention the costs related to falls: nearly $50 billion annually.
Falls are usually more frequent in seniors for a number of reasons:
- Poor vision
- Challenges with mobility and balance
- Medication side effects
- Lower body weakness
- Foot discomfort or pain
- And more
So, what exactly can you do to help the older adults you love protect against a dangerous fall? There are a few actions you can take. Encourage your senior loved ones to:
- Have routine eye exams. A senior should schedule an eye exam at least annually, and more frequently if suggested by the eye doctor. It might also be smart to replace bifocals or progressive lenses with two pairs of glasses: one for nearsightedness and another for farsightedness.
- Improve strength and balance. There are a number of exercises geared towards enhancing balance and strengthening the leg muscles. DailyCaring features a quick video with some simple ideas to get you started. Speak with the older adult’s physician for approval, and then encourage the older adult to incorporate these exercises into his or her day-to-day routine.
- Schedule a medical checkup. The primary care physician can help decrease fall risk through a routine checkup. For instance, ask the doctor to review the senior’s medications (including OTC meds) for adverse side effects such as dizziness or sleepiness. He or she can also assess a senior’s specific fall risk and provide suggestions to reduce that risk. Also ask the doctor about vitamin D supplements; insufficient levels of vitamin D can deteriorate bones and lead to a heightened danger of a fracture if a fall does occur.
- Perform a fall risk walk-through. Seemingly innocuous items in the home can conceal a hidden danger for older adults. Take a walk through of the older adult’s house to look for throw rugs, low tables or other furniture, missing handrails along the stairways, inadequate lighting, and any clutter blocking walking paths.
- Call Home With You Senior Care. Our professional care staff are available to perform a fall safety assessment to look for and then make suggestions for changes to lessen fall risk. We can also help with mobility, safe showering/bathing and transfers, medication reminders, and a variety of other services to keep older adults safe from falls.
If an older adult does have a fall, even if it doesn’t seem to have caused injury, contact his or her doctor for an evaluation and additional guidance to prevent a future fall.
For a no-cost in-home consultation and to learn more about our professional Westminster home health care services, connect with Home With You Senior Care’s aging care experts any time at 410-756-0959. We can design a personalized plan of care to tackle any concerns in order to make life safer and more fulfilling for older adults at home.
Whether the need is for a few hours of respite care each week or 24-hour live-in care, Home With You Senior Care, providers of top-rated Westminster home health care, is here with the solution you need. Email us today! To learn about all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Locations Served page.