Falls are a serious concern for seniors. More than a quarter of older adults fall each year, and falling one time doubles your chance of falling again. One in five falls results in a serious injury, such as a fracture or head injury. Over 800,000 people are hospitalized due to falls every single year in the US. Falls can severely impact a senior’s quality of life. Take a few minutes to work through this checklist now to prevent a debilitating and life-changing fall.
Talk to the Doctor
Report all falls to the doctor, even those that don’t result in injury.
Discuss any dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, or balance concerns you have noticed.
Ask the doctor which medical conditions may contribute to your fall risk.
Ask which medications may increase the risk of falling.
Ask whether physical therapy or a home safety assessment would be beneficial.
Have your vision checked.
Find Better Footwear
Have your feet measured by a professional and get properly fitting shoes and slippers with supportive, non-slip soles and a flat, enclosed heel
Upgrade the Bathroom
Install non-slip surfaces in the tub or shower
Install grab bars near the toilet and shower
Obtain a sturdy shower seat
Improve the Bedroom
Ensure adequate lighting at night. Install a motion-detection night light or be sure a lamp can be reached from the bed without getting up.
Consider a bedside commode or urinal if night trips to the bathroom involve rushing.
Increase Safety Throughout the House
Remove area rugs and mats that can cause tripping
Clear clutter (including excess furniture) from walkways
Ensure all cords are secured away from walkways
Ensure all areas are well lit
Install sturdy handrails on both sides of every staircase
Increase visibility with a color strip along the edge of each step
Stay active every day. Tai chi is especially good for senior strength and balance.
Ask for Help
Reaching out to professionals, such as the doctor or therapist can be an important step in preventing a debilitating fall. Another very valuable resource for seniors is elderly care services. Elderly care aides are professional caregivers who assist seniors overcome all sorts of challenges associated with aging.
Elderly care services are customized for each individual senior’s needs and preferences. The senior specifies the frequency and duration of visits and selects which services they may need. Many seniors have elderly care aides come to assist with safe showering to reduce their risk of falling in the slippery tub.
In addition to personal care, elderly care aides can also help with transportation, shopping, meal preparation, mobility assistance, and a number of other tasks. They can help with walkers and wheelchairs, and can easily transport a senior to the gym, a doctor’s appointment, or other location. Elderly care aides can loan an arm to a senior who is struggling to stay balanced while walking – or they can take a brisk walk with an older adult who wants to challenge their abilities to remain sharp.
Elderly care aides can assist with clearing clutter, cleaning a cat box, changing bed linens, or keeping up with other household tasks that may be unsafe for a senior with balance impairments. The list of ways elderly care aides can help seniors keep their balance is nearly limitless because it’s designed to be customized to each individual’s unique needs. Call an elderly care agency to discuss how they can be customized to yours.