In our last post, we wrote about all the ways falls can have devastating effects on seniors. From broken bones to depression to reduced mobility, a fall can seriously compromise quality-of-life. Did you know that:
- 1/3 of people 65 and over and 1/2 of those 80 and over fall at least once a year.
- 1/3 of these falls require some medical attention.
- Half of all falls happen in and around the home.
- Falls are the leading cause of death for people over 65.
For all these reasons, preventing falls is a necessity for every senior. With that goal in mind, we’ll review a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the risk of falls in an aging loved one’s home.
As with many things in life, open communication is usually a great place to start. Sit down with your aging loved one and talk about the dangers a fall presents. Ask if they’re worried about falling and if they have a plan in place in case they do. Then ask about the confidence they have in their own mobility. Do they ever feel unsteady on their feet? Have they ever had a near fall? Is there a specific task they regularly perform that worries them more than others? These conversations will help establish a baseline for the overall risk your loved one faces, and provide a starting point for preventing falls.
Get A Physical Assessment
Falls – and serious injuries from them – are often the result of a specific aging symptom. Faltering vision makes it difficult to see transitions, especially when it comes to steps. Foot pain can make steady walking difficult. Osteoporosis – to which women are especially susceptible – drastically increases the risk of broken bones during a fall. Even medication can play a role, especially if it causes dizziness. Fortunately, taking a few proactive steps can mitigate these risks.
- Visit a doctor with your loved one and get a complete physical assessment. Vision issues, foot pain, and osteoporosis are all treatable conditions.
- Check with your loved one’s pharmacist and make sure their medications don’t interact.
- If some medications are causing problems, check with a doctor to see if other treatment options exist.
Once you’ve determined your loved one’s physical condition, you can move on to their home environment.
Address Hazards in the Home
The home is where the rubber really meets the road, because – as we mentioned earlier – it’s where half of all falls occur. Take a moment to really examine the environment. Do you see loose floor mats, curled carpet, or exposed electrical cords? These are all tremendous tripping risks. Do the stairs have handrails? Are the lightbulbs bright enough to illuminate dark hallways? Are the walkways free of clutter and obstacles? Taking a careful look for specific risks is often the most important step you can take in preventing falls.
Help is Available
Keeping your loved one safe and on their feet can be challenging but it’s possible if you take the right steps. If you’d like to read more on this topic, download our Fall Prevention Brochure. It’s filled with handy tips and checklists that will help assess and reduce the risk of falling.
If you live in the Phoenix metro area and need more hands on help, Generations Home Care employs certified CNA’s and caregivers who offer a variety of in-home services. Call us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or email us at email@example.com. We’ll provide a free in-home assessment and create a care plan customized for you. Together, we’ll make sure your most important needs are met.