Most people know falls present a serious health risk for older adults, but many aren't aware just how dangerous a fall can be for a senior. From bruises and broken bones to head injuries, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors.
In honor of National Fall Prevention Awareness Day on September 23rd, we share 4 steps seniors and their family members can take to prevent falls in and around the home.
Fall Prevention & Older Adults
Conduct an in-home safety assessment:
An older adult might be living in a home they bought decades ago. While it may have been a great place to raise a family, it may not have been designed with the needs of a senior in mind. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a helpful tool for families to use to objectively assess a senior's home for safety. You can download "Check for Safety: A Home Prevention Checklist for Older Adults" at no cost. It can help you identify potential hazards around the home that need to be addressed.
Evaluate the senior's nutrition and hydration:
A poor diet and dehydration are two more reasons older adults experience falls. Older adults experience poor nutrition or dehydration for a variety of reasons. It might be because they rely on convenience foods (frozen dinners or fast food) because they are having trouble preparing healthy meals or aren't motivated to cook for just themselves. A senior with mobility troubles might avoid drinking too much water for fear of falling during repeated trips to the bathroom. One tool that can help you work with your older family member on menus that promote nutrition and hydration is My Plate.
Review the senior's medication list
: As we grow older, our bodies process medication differently. This puts older adults at increased risk for adverse reactions and side effects. Two common side effects that can cause balance problems and falls are dizziness and drowsiness. If your loved one seems unsteady on their feet, talk with their physician or pharmacist about their medications. You can also use WebMD's Drug Interaction Checker to see if any of the senior's prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, or supplements are known to cause interactions.
Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor
: People often overlook vision health, especially if they don't have insurance to cover appointments and exams. But vision loss can contribute to falls among older adults. Cataracts, loss of peripheral vision, and wearing glasses with outdated prescription lenses are just a few issues that can lead to falls. Ophthalmologists typically recommend seniors have an annual exam unless vision problems require them more frequently.
If you or your older loved one decide home is no longer a senior-friendly, safe environment, one of our experienced senior care advisors can help you explore your senior housing options. Our support and guidance are always free.
Call us at 888-514-6461 to discuss your needs and the senior housing options that are available to meet them!