September 22nd, the first day of Fall, is also recognized by 46 states as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. In hopes of facilitating fall prevention, Kathryn Haslanger has posted eight areas for family caregivers to focus on to prevent falls for the elderly.
It’s a fact that one in every three adults 65 and older has fallen. As we age numerous risk factors compound to increase the likelihood of falling. Age in turn compounds the damage that is sustained as the result of falls. According to the CDC,those who are 75 and older and fall are four times more likely than those ages 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.
It’s important for family caregivers to encourage yearly eye exams for their aging parent or relative. Studies have shown that older patients who received cataract surgery sustained less falls in the year following the surgery than those cataracts patients who did not. Based on guidance from an expert, Haslanger also recommends getting a dedicated pair of glasses with single vision distance lenses for some activities, such as walking outside.
There are a number of ways to ensure that the home of an elder care recipient is safe from falls. Installing rails on stairs, ensuring stairs are level and evenly spaced, and that pathways are well-lighted and free of clutter is a good start. Installing grab bars near toilets and in showers is also a good idea. If you need help fitting a home to prevent falls, consult a senior care provider, such as Encompass Senior Solutions in Omaha, for help.
Taking multiple medications — four or more — can increase someone’s risk of falls because side effects or interactions associated with certain medications such as dizziness or drowsiness. To help counteract these effects, taking medications before a meal or before bed can sometimes be ideal. You can also speak with the doctor to work on the dosage of medications.
Believe it or not, there is research that suggests that those 65 and older increase their risk of falling if they walk around the home barefoot or in socks. If you think about it, it makes sense. Proper footwear provides traction that socks and bare feet simply can’t. There’s also the tendency of jumping back and losing balance when we step on something in bare feet or socks.
It’s important to have walkers and canes properly adjusted to fit the user. If a walker is the wrong height or used improperly it can negate the benefits of using it. Also, turn the cane or walker upside down once a month to make sure the rubber tips are still in good shape. If not, replace them.
Balance is, of course, a major factor in preventing falls. If you’re having to hold onto your elderly parent while they walk, it’s probably a good idea to consult a doctor who may prescribe a balance retraining program.
Declining muscle strength can cause falls. As our muscles become weaker they become less able to support our weight. There are a number of exercises that your elderly parent can do to minimize muscle loss, including walking, Tai Chi, yoga and strength training. Many fitness facilities in Nebraska also provide exercise classes for the elderly. In Omaha, there is even a fitness center called Omaha Wellbound Fitness that offers programs and exercise classes specifically tailored to baby boomers and senior citizens.
Hopefully, these suggestions are a step in the right direction, helping prevent falls for your elderly loved one.
Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts.Â Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.
“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”