Tips for Senior Fall Prevention
Senior Fall Prevention is an important topic to discuss with your elderly loved ones. Falls are a major concern for many seniors aged 65 and older and are the leading cause of injuries and death for that age group.
According to the National Council on Aging, one in three senior citizens falls each year.
The unfortunate problem that arises when we age is that we can become more unsteady which leads to falls.
Falling is especially dangerous as you age because your bones are not as strong and break more easily.
Long-term complications can come from just one fall. Seniors who have experienced a fall can become fearful of falling again, leading to decreased mobility.
A senior who is not moving around will not get exercise which will leave them even more wobbly on their feet. However, there are some tips caregivers and seniors can follow to help prevent falls.
Senior Fall Prevention
Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time. They feel the safest their, however, there can be many things in a home that can trip someone who isn’t as steady on their feet as they used to be.
There can also be unnecessary furniture or other objects in a way that could cause injury in the event of fall.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a look around the home and see where modifications can be made.
Maybe move some furniture around or remove furniture, and others in the way items altogether, to reduce the fall risk.
A little home modification will ensure the senior has a pathway throughout the house that is free of tripping hazards.
The path should also be free of rugs that can also be a tripping hazard. Proper lighting is also a necessary part of keeping the home safe.
Other modifications can include installing rails in the bathroom to help a senior on and off the toilet and in and out of the bathtub.
Senior Fall Prevention highlights mobility and staying active. A local gym or community center usually will have classes targeted at seniors to increase their mobility.
These classes are not meant to be intense. They are meant to assist seniors with their balance and movement. Specific programs from which seniors can benefit are A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi, and Yoga. Group classes are not for everyone.
Some seniors prefer to practice balance and mobility in the comfort of their own home or while on the go. If you’re waiting in line at a store, try balancing on one foot. If you’re sitting down, you can try rising from a seated position without using your arms to get up.
You will also want to perform exercises that target specific muscle groups to increase your strength. The stronger you are the more steady you will be when standing and walking.
Wear the Correct Shoes
Shoes are an important part of mobility. Shoes that are uncomfortable or don’t fit correctly will increase the chances of a fall. Those that have rough tread can cause a senior to trip.
If the shoes do not have enough tread, they can cause a senior to slip. Arthritis or other conditions may make it necessary to wear orthopedic shoes.
At the very least, it would be wise to visit a shoe store and receive assistance from a sales associate to ensure proper sizing and comfort.
Visit the Doctor
Part of staying on top of Senior Fall Prevention includes visiting a doctor regularly. Eye exams and hearing check-ups should also be performed regularly. Seniors often develop eye conditions, such as cataracts, which make it difficult for them to see.
There are many other conditions that can affect their vision. If a senior has compromised vision, a fall is likely. They may not see a step and can trip easily. Several ear conditions can also affect balance making hearing check-ups necessary.
Medications and any side effects should also be discussed with the doctor. Many medications seniors are required to take for certain health conditions can cause them to be dizzy, sleepy, or even sick.
If a medication is necessary, understanding the possible side effects can reduce the chance of falling. Over-the-counter medications also warrant concern, especially if they contain sleep aids, such as in many pain medications.
Therefore, you must read the labels and know the possible side effects of any medicines you are taking.
An important thing to pay attention to for senior fall prevention is if you notice your senior loved one holding onto walls or grabbing onto furniture to get around, it may be time for them to see a physical therapist.
A physical therapist can take a fall risk assessment and develop a plan to improve a senior’s balance by showing them exercises they can do at home on a regular basis to help maintain their mobility. He or she can also determine if a walker is needed or any other type of walking aid is needed.
Your senior loved one may have a hard time admitting they are a fall risk. But, falling is a part of aging. The alternative to facing the risks is moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
To avoid this for as long as possible you must sit down and talk about the risks and how to reduce those risks. This is an integral part of keeping a senior citizen safe.
Knowing the risks can help keep a senior in their home longer where they will be happier and ultimately want to stay.