Fall risks for your aging loved ones is a serious matter. Believe it or not the CDC has found that the leading cause of death and injury among older Americans is falling down. For their own safety, caregivers and their seniors must take steps to reduce fall risks.
The dangers of falls for seniors are numerous. Everything from minor bruising to death can result depending on the severity of a fall and the individual’s health. While not all falls can be prevented, many can be.
Signs a Senior is at High Risk of Falling
The National Institute on Aging says that losing a steady, healthy balance and gait is common among seniors. Other factors, like certain medications and diseases, can increase difficulty with balance. To determine if a senior is at high risk of falling, watch for the following signs:
- A change in gait
- Difficulty getting in and out of chairs or bed
- Reaching for support when bending, moving, or climbing
- Needing breaks while moving about routinely, like while climbing upstairs
- Straining to see clearly
- Watching one’s feet while moving
- Shuffling instead of lifting the feet when walking
- Pain in the joints, back, or lower body
If you notice signs like these, be proactive. Take steps to help seniors with preventative measures around the home and encourage them to practice walking safely outside the home as well.
Some common medical conditions that increase fall risk include:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Chronic Pain
- Disorders of the Foot or Legs
- Thyroid or Blood Issues
- Weakened Muscles
- Sensory Issues with Hearing, Vision, or Neuropathy
Key areas to focus your falls prevention efforts include:
Floors and Stairs: Add traction surfaces and rails along the walls. Clean up obstacles and secure pets when seniors need to move. Install a chair lift on stairs if needed.
Bathroom: Keep the bathroom ventilated and dry. Add non-slip mats and grab bars. Install more accessible fixtures or seating and grab bars within shower and tub.
Kitchen: Move common kitchen items to waist level. Add traction pads to floors and increase lighting. Remove or rearrange furniture for easier maneuvering.
Bedroom and Living Area: Add lighting, include night lighting and clear a path for easy navigation at any hour. Secure cords, wires, and other tripping hazards behind furniture. Make phones accessible in case help is needed.
Outside the Home: Accompany seniors closely, offering support as needed. Avoid busy hours and crowded locales. Stick to the sidewalk and locations that are familiar.
Keeping track of all these details can be overwhelming! If you need some help, contact Assisting Hands Home Care serving Columbus, OH, and we can assign a professional caregiver to assist with things like showering and toileting, getting dressed, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and ambulatory assistance in the home and on neighborhood walks. We can also offer transportation to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or other places your loved one would like to go, helping with masking and walking. If you loved one is not able to get out, we can run errands for them. Give us a call and get the support you and your family needs!
SOURCES: ClearCare, CDC, NIH Senior Health, Health in Aging, Home Advisor