The statistics on older adults and falls are frightening. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors. One in three adults age 65 and older falls each year. Once a senior experiences a fall, they are more likely to fall again. Experts believe the key to fall prevention is a combination of strength training, balance exercises, and vision health. Creating a safe environment is also important.
Advice for Adult Children in Michigan
Here are a few steps adult children of Michigan seniors can take to help their loved one prevent another fall:
1. Have a Home Evaluation: Throw rugs, uneven stair treads, extension cords and cluttered hallways are a just a few of the hazards older adults may encounter in their own home. Our best advice is to hire an occupational therapist or a physical therapist to conduct an in-home safety assessment. Your family physician may need to write an order or make a referral for this service.
2. Get Physical: Older adults are often afraid that exercising will increase their odds of falling. But maintaining physical strength, flexibility and balance are among the best ways to prevent falls. Talk with your aging loved one and their physician to determine what type of exercise may be best for them. One to consider is Go4Life developed by the National Institute on Aging. The program that includes a variety of tools, guides and DVDs you can order at no cost.
3. Schedule an Eye Exam: Vision problems can lead to falls. Encourage your older family member to schedule an appointment with a board certified Ophthalmologist. They can help detect potential vision problems and make recommendations for treatment.
4. Encourage Compliance: The majority of falls and injuries seniors experience occur at home. But home is the place they are least likely to use their cane or walker. Encourage your senior to be complaint with whatever assistive devices their physician has recommended for them even when they feel safe in their own home.
We hope these tips help you find ways to prevent your Michigan senior loved one from experiencing another fall. To learn more about fall prevention, we encourage you to read Debunking the Myths about Older Adult Falls developed by The National Council on Aging.
Heritage Senior Communities newest community is now open in Holland, Michigan. The Village at Appledorn West offers adults over the age of 55 one- and two-bedroom apartments. An assisted living community on the same campus will open its doors to new residents later this spring.
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