For everyone age 65 and older, falls are a very serious threat. Approximately one in four older adults will experience a fall, and after falling, the potential risk of falling again doubles, which is why fall prevention at home is important for keeping seniors safe. Older adult falls often lead to emergency room visits, head injuries, fractures, and hospitalizations – not to mention the costs connected with falls: approximately $50 billion per year.
Falls are more frequent in seniors 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 can you do to help the seniors you love protect against a dangerous fall? There are several actions you can take for fall prevention at home. Encourage your senior loved ones to:
- Have routine eye exams. An older adult should schedule an eye exam at least annually, and more frequently if suggested by the ophthalmologist. 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 strengthening the leg muscles and enhancing balance. DailyCaring offers a brief video with a few simple ideas to allow you to get started. Speak with the senior’s physician for approval, and then encourage the senior to incorporate these exercises into his/her day-to-day routine.
- Schedule a medical checkup. The primary care physician can help decrease fall risk through a routine checkup. For instance, ask the doctor to review the older adult’s medications (including OTC meds) for side effects such as dizziness or sleepiness. He or she can also assess a senior’s specific fall risk and offer recommendations to reduce that risk. Also ask the physician about vitamin D supplements; inadequate amounts of vitamin D can weaken bones and bring about an increased likelihood of a fracture if a fall does occur.
- Perform a fall risk walk-through. Seemingly harmless items in the house can hide a hidden danger for seniors. Take a walk through the senior’s home to check for throw rugs, low tables or other furniture, missing handrails along the stairways, insufficient lighting, and any clutter blocking walking paths.
- Call Inspired Home Care. Our professional care staff are available to perform a fall safety assessment to look for and then make recommendations for changes to reduce fall risk. We can also help with mobility, safe showering/bathing and transfers, medication reminders, and a variety of other services to help keep older adults safe from falls.
If an older adult does have a fall, even if it doesn’t seem to have resulted in injury, contact his or her doctor for an assessment and additional recommendations to prevent a future fall.
For a no-cost in-home assessment, contact the Algonquin home health care experts at Inspired Home Care any time at 847-787-7572. We can design a customized plan of care to tackle any challenges in order to make life safer and more satisfying for older adults at home.
Whether the need is for just a couple of hours of respite care every week or around-the-clock live-in care, Inspired Home Care, providers of the Algonquin home health care families trust, is here with the solution you need. Contact us today! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Locations Served page.