For those age 65 and older, falls are an incredibly serious threat. Up to one in four older adults will experience a fall, and after falling, the potential risk of falling again doubles. Senior falls often bring about emergency room visits, fractures, head injuries, and hospitalizations – not to mention the costs connected with falls: up to $50 billion each year.
Falls tend to be more common in older adults for many different reasons:
- Poor vision
- Challenges with mobility and balance
- Medication side effects
- Lower body weakness
- Foot discomfort or pain
- And more
So, what exactly can you do when caring for older parents to help them avoid a dangerous fall? There are several home safety and fall prevention tips you can take. Encourage your senior loved ones to:
- Have routine eye exams. A senior should arrange for an eye exam on an annual basis, and more frequently if suggested by the eye doctor. It may also be wise to replace progressive lenses or bifocals with two pairs of glasses: one for nearsightedness and another for farsightedness.
- Improve balance and strength. There are a number of exercises geared towards enhancing balance and strengthening the leg muscles. DailyCaring offers a quick video with some simple suggestions to get you started. Talk with the older adult’s doctor for approval, and then encourage the senior to add these exercises into his or her day-to-day routine.
- Schedule a medical checkup. The primary care physician can help decrease fall risk through a routine checkup. For example, ask the physician to review the senior’s medications (including OTC meds) for adverse side effects such as dizziness or sleepiness. He or she can also assess a senior’s specific fall risk and offer suggestions to lessen that risk. Also ask the doctor about vitamin D supplements; insufficient quantities of vitamin D can weaken bones and bring about an increased danger of a fracture if a fall does occur.
- Perform a fall risk walk-through. Relatively harmless items in the home can conceal a hidden danger for seniors. Take a walk through the senior’s house to check for throw rugs, low tables or other furniture, missing handrails along the stairways, insufficient lighting, and any clutter blocking walking paths.
- Call Grace Home Care. 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 showering/bathing and transfers, medication reminders, and various other services to keep older adults safe from falls.
If a senior does have a fall, even if it does not appear to have resulted in injury, contact his or her physician for an evaluation and additional recommendations to prevent a future fall.
For a free in-home assessment and to learn more about our top-rated Topeka home care services, call Grace Home Care’s aging care experts any time at 785-286-2273. We can design a customized plan of care to address any concerns and to make life safer and more fulfilling for seniors at home.
Whether full time help caring for older parents or just a couple hours of respite care weekly, Grace Home Care, the Topeka dementia care and home care experts, is here with the solution you need. Give us a call today!