Six More Steps to Help Prevent Falls

We recently posted in the blog about some helpful tips to prevent falls in the elderly. It’s such an important subject that we want to offer some more advice to help prevent seniors from falling. Here are six of Senior Help Desk’s suggestions:

1. “Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.

Ask your older loved one if they’re concerned about falling. Many older adults recognize that falling is a risk, but they believe it won’t happen to them or they won’t get hurt—even if they’ve already fallen in the past. If they’re concerned about falling, dizziness, or balance, suggest that they discuss it with their health care provider who can assess their risk and suggest programs or services that could help.

2. Discuss their current health conditions.

Find out if your older loved one is experiencing any problems with managing their own health. Are they having trouble remembering to take their medications—or are they experiencing side effects? Is it getting more difficult for them to do things they used to do easily?

3. Ask about their last eye checkup.

If your older loved one wears glasses, make sure they have a current prescription and they’re using the glasses as advised by their eye doctor.

Remember that using tint-changing lenses can be hazardous when going from bright sun into darkened buildings and homes. A simple strategy is to change glasses upon entry or stop until their lenses adjust.

Bifocals also can be problematic on stairs, so it’s important to be cautious. For those already struggling with low vision, consult with a low-vision specialist for ways to make the most of their eyesight.

4. Notice if they’re holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking or if they appear to have difficulty walking or arising from a chair.

These are all signs that it might be time to see a physical therapist. A trained physical therapist can help your older loved one improve their balance, strength, and gait through exercise. They might also suggest a cane or walker—and provide guidance on how to use these aids. Make sure to follow their advice. Poorly fit aids actually can increase the risk of falling.

5. Talk about their medications.

If your older loved one is having a hard time keeping track of medicines or is experiencing side effects, encourage them to discuss their concerns with their doctor and pharmacist. Suggest that they have their medications reviewed each time they get a new prescription.

6. Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home.

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult an Occupational Therapist. Here are some examples:

 

Lighting: Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night.

Stairs: Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.

Bathrooms: Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.”

Source: Senior Help desk

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