For those age 65 and older, geriatric falls are an incredibly serious threat. Up to one out of four older adults will experience a fall, and after falling, the risk of falling again doubles. Geriatric falls often lead to emergency room visits, head injuries, fractures, and hospitalizations – not to mention the expense connected with falls: approximately $50 billion each year.
Falls tend to be more common in older adults for a variety of 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 to help the seniors you love prevent a dangerous fall? There are a number of actions you can take. Encourage your senior loved ones to:
- Have routine eye exams. A senior should schedule an eye exam at least annually, and more often if suggested by the eye doctor. It may also be wise to replace bifocals or progressive lenses with two pairs of glasses: one for nearsightedness and another for farsightedness.
- Improve balance and strength. There are a number of exercises aimed at enhancing balance and strengthening the leg muscles. DailyCaring offers a brief video with some simple ideas to help you get started. Talk to the senior’s doctor for approval, and then encourage the senior to add these exercises into his/her daily routine.
- Schedule a check-up. The primary care physician can help reduce 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 evaluate a senior’s specific fall risk and offer recommendations to reduce that risk. Also ask the doctor about vitamin D supplements; insufficient quantities of vitamin D can deteriorate bones and lead to an increased danger of a fracture if a fall does occur.
- Perform a fall risk walk-through. Seemingly innocuous items in the house can hide a hidden danger for seniors. Take a walk through the older adult’s house to look for throw rugs, low tables or other furniture, missing handrails along the stairways, inadequate lighting, and any clutter hindering walking paths.
- Call At-Home Care Company. Our professional care staff are readily available to perform a fall safety assessment to look for and then make suggestions for changes to lessen fall risk. We can also assist with mobility, safe bathing/showering 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 doctor for an evaluation and additional guidance to prevent a future fall.
For a complimentary in-home assessment and to learn more about senior care in Waukee and the surrounding areas, reach out to At Home Care Company’s aging care experts any time at 515-292-2650. We are able to design a personalized plan of care to address any concerns and to make life safer and more enjoyable for seniors at home.
Whether the need is for just a couple hours of respite care each week or 24-hour live-in care, At-Home Care Company, the leaders in elderly care in Des Moines and the surrounding communities, is here with the solution you need. Reach out to us today!