For people age 65 and older, falls are an extremely serious threat. Up to one out of four seniors will experience a fall, and after falling, the possibility of falling again doubles. Elderly falls often lead to emergency room visits, head injuries, fractures, and hospitalizations – not to mention the costs associated with falls: approximately $50 billion annually.
Falls are more frequent in seniors for many reasons:
- Poor vision
- Challenges with mobility and balance
- Medication side effects
- Lower body weakness
- Foot discomfort or pain
- And more
So, what fall prevention strategies can you implement in order to help the older adults you love prevent a dangerous fall? There are a number of steps you can take. Encourage your senior loved ones to:
- Have routine eye exams. A senior should arrange an eye exam on an annual basis, and more often if recommended by the eye doctor. It may also be smart to replace progressive lenses or bifocals with two pairs of glasses: one for nearsightedness and another for farsightedness.
- Improve strength and balance. There are a wide variety of exercises aimed at strengthening the leg muscles and enhancing balance. DailyCaring features a quick video with some simple tips to help you get started. Check with the older adult’s physician for approval, and then encourage the senior to incorporate these exercises into his or her day-to-day routine.
- Schedule a check-up. The primary care physician can help reduce fall risk through a routine checkup. For instance, ask the doctor to review the older adult’s medications (including OTC meds) for side effects such as dizziness or sleepiness. He or she can also assess a senior’s particular fall risk and offer recommendations to lessen that risk. Also ask the doctor about vitamin D supplements; insufficient quantities 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 seniors. Take a walk through the older adult’s home to check for throw rugs, low tables or other furniture, missing handrails along stairways, inadequate lighting, and any clutter blocking walking paths.
- Call Compassionate Nursing Services. Our professional care staff are readily available to perform a fall safety assessment to look for and then make suggestions for changes to reduce fall risk. We can also assist with mobility, safe bathing/showering and transfers, medication reminders, and a variety of other services to help keep older adults safe from falls.
If a senior does have a fall, even if it does not seem to have resulted in injury, contact his or her health care provider for an evaluation and further recommendations to prevent a future fall.
Compassionate Nursing Services can design an individualized plan of care to handle any challenges in order to make life safer and more fulfilling for seniors at home. Whether the need is for a few hours of respite care every week or around-the-clock live-in care, our home care agency is here with the solution you need. Reach out to us today to learn more about professional senior care in Chesterfield and the surrounding communities.