You’ve taken all the right steps to make your dad’s house safer. You’ve put in rails, grab bars, and removed problematic rugs. That’s a great first step. To really prevent falls, however, you need to talk to your dad about four things he needs to do to decrease his fall risk. Here they are.
Make sure your dad knows that when he’s getting out of bed in the morning, standing up from a sofa or chair, or getting out of a car or shower that he needs to go slowly. Allow the body to adjust to the new position rather than rush it. This is especially helpful if your dad is prone to dizzy spells or joint pain as he switches from a sitting/laying position to a standing one.
Use Solid Pieces of Furniture for Support
Make sure your dad knows to use furniture for support. If he uses a cane or walker, he can hold onto furniture until he has the cane or walker in the right position. Furniture is also good for support while getting into a standing position. In a car, your dad can use the car door or seat for support as he swings his feet out and gets ready to stand.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
The Journal of American Geriatrics Society released a report in 2013 that discussed the benefits of vitamin D in preventing falls. In patients who had vitamin D levels of 25 ng/mL or higher, the fall risk was much lower. If you’re not sure if vitamin D supplements are right for your dad, ask his doctor. For most seniors, up to 4,000 IU daily is safe.
Don’t Exceed Physical Capabilities
Your dad may be used to climbing a ladder to clean gutters or going up on the roof to paint trim. As balance and muscle strength change, he needs to remember he cannot do it all. He may need to hire painters or hand over gutter cleaning duties to a child or grandchild.
One thing you can do is call a senior care agency. If your dad fell because he tries to do things he really cannot manage anymore, a caregiver will make a huge difference in your lives. Your dad has help for activities of daily living, and you gain peace of mind that he’s not putting his safety at risk. Talk to a senior care specialist to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Loudoun, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.