How to Prevent Falls in Elderly
While people of all ages experience falls, older adults are more prone to falls that can compromise their ability to live safely, comfortably and happily at home. The risks from a bad fall are so great and it can lead to non-fatal injuries threatening independence and mobility of seniors, or worse a major cause of injury-related deaths among the elderly.
Though it is not possible to prevent all falls, there are measures to diminish the chance of a bad fall among seniors. Thus, many organizations, agencies, and medical alert system providers together with family caregivers recognize the need for awareness and education for preventive programs and strategies to reduce the risk of falls among the elderly.
Why seniors are particularly at risk of falls?
There are a number of reasons why do elderly have falls. They are particularly prone to falls due to the following factors such as:
- Difficulties with the balance due to the aging process
- Certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease
- Foot pain due to poorly fitting footwear
- Side effects of some medications
- Poor eyesight
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Joint and muscle disorders
- Environmental issues
Here are 6 measures to prevent the risk of falls among your elderly loved ones.
- Encourage them to exercise regularly. Encourage your elderly parent to engage in regular exercise to keep them healthy like yoga, Tai Chi, walking, swimming, and biking to strengthen the legs, improve balance and increase flexibility. According to research, some older adults suffer from muscle loss known as sarcopenia, which may increase the risk of falls and fractures in the elderly. However, always seek doctor’s advice before your loved one starts any form of exercise program.
- Review and monitor their medications closely.
Dizziness, drowsiness or lightheadedness is the common side effects of medications among seniors and can increase the risk of falls, so consult a doctor to replace those medications with these side effects. Also, your elderly parent may tend to forget to take too much, too little medicine or mix up the dosage that the effect can also increase the risk of falls. So provide them a medication dispensing system that reminds them to take their medicine on time and also dispenses the prescribed dosage of it. This device takes your worries away from getting your elderly loved one get an overdose or from skipping their medication.
- Get their eyes checked by an ophthalmologist.
Vision issues and impairments like cataract, glaucoma, myopia, inability to react to changes in brightness, macular degeneration, etc. are part of the aging process, and if left untreated can extremely increase the risk of falls in your elderly loved ones. Thus, get their eyes checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist at least once a year to treat eyesight problems or improve eye health, and eventually, reduce the risk of falls caused by poor eyesight.
- Get them a well-balanced diet.
A well-balanced diet improves the nervous system, provides energy to the body’s muscle systems, and boost brain function. Keeping elderly hydrated can produce similar benefits as well. Get your elderly daily recommended amount of vitamins such as calcium and Vitamin D, and let them be screened and treated for osteoporosis to lessen hip injury risk.
- Promote safety throughout the home.
Here are a few simple tips on how to prevent elderly falls at home.
- Remove all clutter. Keeping your home organized and free from clutter is one of the easiest ways to prevent falls in the elderly.
- Fix or eliminate tripping hazards. Check hallways, stairs, and rooms and see to it that everything is in place. Fix loose rugs and repair uneven steps and railings to prevent slips.
- Have adequate lighting. Make sure that your senior loved one’s home has adequate lighting, especially in stairways and hallways. Also, use a night light in their bedroom and see to it that there is adequate light for them to see inside the bedroom and along the way to the bathroom and kitchen.
- Add non-slip mats. Bathrooms, bathtubs and showers, kitchens and decks flooring can become a major hazard when wet, so ensure to add non-slip mats to avoid elderly falls.
- Move items in the kitchen more accessible.
- Wear shoes or nonslippery socks. To prevent elderly falls at home, ensure that your elderly parent wears non-slip shoes. However, if they are not comfortable with shoes, you can buy them non-slip socks with super grips at sole of socks that can prevent falling or losing balance on slippery surfaces such as wood floors or tile floors.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing. Any loose clothing is hazardous because it can be easily caught in a door frame, furniture or nail causing you and your senior loved ones to slip and fall.
- Install handrails and grab bars. Installing handrails in hallways and stairways, and grab bars in bathtubs and toilets are a great preventive measure against the risk of a serious fall.
- Provide medical alert systems.
Prevention is the best measure to avoid injuries and other issues associated with falls. Nevertheless, accidents occur in spite of the best-laid plans, thus provide them with medical alert systems as a safety net for at-home and on-the-go. You and your senior loved ones will feel secure knowing someone will come and assist in case of accident or fall.
These preventive measures can help reduce the risk of serious falls in the elderly and allow them to enjoy life in their golden years.