As a person ages, the likelihood of falling increases as does the chance of serious injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year millions of adults 65 and older fall. Not only can these falls cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures or even head traumas, they can also increase the risk of dying.
Although those are alarming statistics, falls can be prevented. Here are six tips to incorporate into your loved one’s fall prevention plan no matter what season it is:
Exercise – Staying active is very important in preventing falls. With a doctor’s approval, consider encouraging your elderly family member to participate in exercises that increase leg strength and promote stability.
Fall-proof home – If your loved one lives alone, make sure that his or her home is fall-proof. Reduce fall hazards by installing grab bars in areas such as the shower or next to the toilet. Improve lighting in the home, and make sure that all rugs are safely fastened to the ground and other tripping hazards are removed from the primary walkways.
Lighting – Proper lighting is very important in preventing falls. Consider placing night lights in the bedroom, hallways and bathrooms. Place a lamp within arm’s reach of the bed in case your loved one needs to get up in the middle of the night. Also, remind your family member to turn on the lights before he or she goes up or down the steps. Finally, storing flashlights in easy to reach places in case of a power outage is another way to prevent falls within the home.
Medication – Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which can lead to falls. If your family member has been experiencing these symptoms, ask his or her doctor or pharmacist to review current medications to identify which medicine is causing the side effects.
Shoes – High heels, certain slippers and shoes with no traction can cause a person to stumble and fall. That’s why, as part of a fall-prevention plan, finding a pair of shoes that fits properly, is sturdy and has anti-skid soles can help reduce someone’s chances of slipping and falling.
Eyesight – As a person’s ages, his or her vision usually decreases. That’s why it’s a good idea for your loved one to visit an eye doctor at least once a year in an effort to maximize his or her vision.
Although falls can put your elderly family members at risk of serious injury, there are ways to prevent these incidents. To start your preventative measures, take note of the six tips that we provided today.
As always, talk with your loved one’s primary care physician for a more in-depth analysis of a fall prevention plan, as well as physical evaluation should a fall occur.