According to the National Council on Aging, falling is the most common cause of injuries among people aged 65 and older. These injuries, such as hip fractures and concussions, may be severe and even life-threatening.
Besides injuries, falling risk can make older adults anxious and unwilling to be more active, limiting quality of life.
So what are some ways to prevent falls for your senior loved one?
7 Steps to Reduce the Risk for Senior Falls
- Remove tripping hazards.
Caregivers and their senior loved ones should perform a walkthrough of the home to look for risks that can be removed or repaired.
- Clean up clutter to keep floor space open.
- Move items such as plant pots, magazine racks, and power cords out of high-traffic areas.
- Repair uneven floorboards or loose carpet.
- Anchor rugs with double-sided tape.
- Improve home lighting.
Make sure there is adequate lighting in the home, especially at the top and bottom of staircases, on front porches and stoops, and inside the main door.
Also make sure there is lighting available when getting up in the middle of the night. Keep a flashlight by the bed and check the batteries regularly.
- Install handles and grab bars.
Make sure your loved one has something to hold on to when sitting, standing, and getting in or out of the shower. Be sure that bars and handles are installed where they will actually be used.
Handles can also help in other areas, such as hallways. Also, make sure that there are railings on both sides of staircases.
- Avoid clothing that can cause falls.
Seniors can help avoid falls by wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes. They should be well-fitting with non-skid soles.
Wear clothing that is comfortable without being baggy. Make sure pants are hemmed and do not drag on the floor.
- Stay physically active to avoid falls.
While it sounds counterintuitive, staying physically active can help reduce your senior loved one’s risk of falling.
In particular, practicing tai chi or water aerobics can help improve balance, flexibility, and strength.
- Keep up with regular checkups.
Regular hearing and vision checks can help seniors avoid objects that could make them trip or lose their balance. Checkups can also help a loved one monitor or avoid other risk factors for falling, such as dizziness and joint pain.
- Discuss falling concerns with a physician.
If fear of falling is interfering with your senior loved one’s quality of life, discuss this with a physician. They may recommend referring your loved one to a physical therapist. They can also evaluate your loved one’s medications and adjust them if necessary since many medicines may carry side effects that increase fall risk.
Senior Falls May be Avoided
With enough precaution and monitoring, your senior loved one can continue to enjoy a high quality of life free of falls and the injuries they cause.
At Heritage Senior Communities, we strive to maintain healthy, safe residences that allow seniors to live full, active lives. Contact us to learn more, including details about our newer locations in Holland and Saline, Michigan.