Preventing Falls for the Elderly

Here is a nice piece with some practical ideas on preventing falls for the elderly.  Nothing complex but things we often just take for granted because we are able to do them easily can be dangerous hazards as we age.  Take a look and maybe someone you know is at risk and you can help them!

 

Caring for the Elderly by Preventing Falls By : SeniorsList.com

One bad fall for an elderly individual can lead to serious problems that require a hospital stay, loss of independence, lengthy rehabilitation, or worse. This is why it is so important to remain proactive in decreasing the risk of falls. There are several methods for reducing the risk of falls. Take on a comprehensive fall prevention plan so that you or your loved ones will stay safe.

Improve Strength and Balance

Many elderly individuals and their families reduce the physical activities of the elderly person as a safety precaution. Unfortunately, lack of activity is actually a leading cause of falls. Healthcare professionals now encourage the elderly to remain as active as possible through a variety of physical activities. Regular exercise is important for strength, balance, stamina, proper walking gait, and quicker reflexes. Those who live sedentary lifestyles are far more susceptible to falling than those who make exercise a regular part of their lifestyle. Choose a physical activity that is suited to a person’s mobility. Many elderly individuals benefit greatly from low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and walking.

Activities that stimulate the brain are also important in order to improve reaction time. Games or activities that are mentally stimulating exercise the brain in a way that can help to keep elderly people sharp and mentally focused on the tasks at hand, which could save them from a dangerous fall.

Safeguarding the Home Environment

Elderly people who live at home should carefully assess their home for potential dangers that may cause falls. For instance, if a throw rug is constantly presenting a problem for an elderly person, you could consider tacking it down or removing it altogether. Individuals with very limited mobility should live in one-floor units or should only use the first floor in order to prevent dangerous falls.

It’s important to look at a home from the perspective of someone who cannot easily navigate uneven surfaces or who is susceptible to slipping. For example, a bathtub may not be suitable for a person who finds it difficult to lift their legs up and into the tub. Attempting to do so on a daily basis is likely to lead to a fall eventually. A shower setup with a non-slip mat may become a necessity.

Assess Medications and Medical Conditions

If an elderly person reports feeling dizzy or confused, the cause may be a medication or a medical condition. For instance, there are drugs that have side effects that make individuals more susceptible to falls. When drugs are used in combination, there can also be undesirable side effects. Talk with your doctor to find out if the side effects you are experiencing could be caused by your medications or a medical condition. They may be able to come up with a solution that will reduce your risk of falling from dizziness or other side effects. By making a careful assessment of what may be causing unsteadiness in an elderly person, you can begin to take steps toward reducing the risk of falls.