Reducing Risk of Falls in Seniors
Injuries sustained from a fall can seriously affect seniors’ lives and their ability to safely live independently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 36 million falls are reported among older adults every year, and about three million older adults are treated in the emergency room for fall injuries. Taking steps to prevent falls can reduce risk of injury from these types of situations.
There are many ways that seniors can be proactive and keep themselves safer while at home or out in the community.
Exercising is a great way to strengthen muscles and joints, improve balance and coordination, and decrease risk of falling. Working with a physical therapist can help seniors build essential skills and work on areas where they may have weaknesses. There are many activities that can be done at home with little to no equipment. Even going for regular walks and engaging in activities such as yoga can help.
Loose or ill-fitting footwear can become a risk factor for falls. Shuffling in slippers, especially slide-on ones, can quickly result in tripping or losing balance if a slipper falls off. Seniors should aim to buy sturdy shoes with a hard sole that provides traction. Make sure shoes are properly fitted and not too big or too small.
Seniors should use canes or walkers as necessary to help with balance. Make sure this equipment is correctly adjusted to their height and that they know how to properly use it. Installing grab bars in the bathroom can help with getting in and out of the shower or transitioning between standing and sitting on the toilet. Using non-slip mats can help as well, especially around water. Install handrails along any stairs and make sure that they are securely attached and do not wobble.
Remove rugs or ensure that they are secured and will not slip or roll up on the floor. The edges of rugs and transitions between different types of flooring can be major trip and fall hazards. Try to arrange furniture so that there are wide walkways, and encourage seniors to sit in sturdy pieces that will not rock or fall over if they lean on them to stand up or sit down. Clear away any clutter on the floor, and secure cords out of the way.
Health issues can also increase risk of falls. Encourage seniors to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and stay on top of medications to manage conditions such as blood pressure, blood sugar, or heart rate. When seniors aren’t feeling their best, it can affect their balance, coordination, judgement, and more.
Having a strong support system can also help seniors reduce their risk of falls or other situations that could be potential dangerous. An in-home caregiver can provide the appropriate level of assistance and supervision to keep seniors safer while aging in place. In addition, Always Best Care offers the Balance Tracking System which can help determine fall risk. Learn more about available services and supports by contacting Always Best Care at (855) 470-2273 to schedule a free consultation.