The possibility of a fall can be frightening for seniors. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent your senior loved one from slipping or falling at home. We’ve put together six of the top recommendations from health authorities for slip and fall prevention:
1. Create a Safe Environment
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of falls occur at home. To reduce the risk, thoroughly check your loved one’s residence for the following:
- Poor lighting.
- Clutter on the floor, especially on stairs and in other frequent walking areas.
- Other hazards that can cause falls, including loose extension cords and slippery surfaces.
In addition, use double-sided tape to stop throw rugs from slipping, and install handrails throughout the house along with grab bars in and near the tub, shower and toilet.
2. Improve Balance
As we age, our flexibility, balance and coordination tend to deteriorate, mostly because we reduce our activity levels. Research has found, however, that certain forms of exercise can significantly improve balance and reduce the risk of falls among seniors. In one recent study, researchers found that exercise programs — some general and some specifically targeted for improving balance — reduced falls that result in injuries by 37 percent.
3. Check Vision Regularly
Low vision can make it difficult to move around safely. Health authorities advise that seniors should have their vision checked annually and should ensure that glasses or contact lenses are the correct prescription. In addition, your loved one should use caution when wearing lenses that change tint in dark or bright environments; pausing until lenses can adjust to indoor conditions or changing glasses upon entering are wise.
4. Manage Other Health Conditions
For slip and fall prevention, it’s important that your senior loved one gets regular checkups and takes steps to boost overall health.
- Check with your doctor on the right amount of calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone strength.
- Alert your doctor to any foot problems and the need to wear loosely fitting shoes that could cause falls.
- See a doctor immediately for feelings of weakness or dizziness.
- Ensure sufficient water consumption, especially in hot weather.
5. Make Use of Mobility Aids
If your loved one is having consistent trouble with balance, consider seeing a physical therapist. A professional therapist can assist with improving balance and can recommend appropriate mobility aids — including a walker or cane — for your loved one’s specific needs.
6. Review Medications
If any medications are causing balance problems or dizziness — or if your loved one is having problems managing medications — it’s time to consult with a medical professional. It’s also a good idea to have your pharmacist review your loved one’s overall medication program each time a new medicine is prescribed.
Eliminate Worries About Falls
By assisting your loved one in attending to health concerns and removing hazards in the home, you can significantly reduce the risk of a fall. For seniors who have suffered an injury due to a fall, The Overlook offers temporary respite care in our rehabilitation centers with personal attention to aid a speedy recovery. For more information, please contact us today.