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Every year one in three older Americans fall. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people aged 65+, resulting in hip fractures, broken bones, head injuries and fear. Once an older person falls, it can be difficult for them to regain their confidence and remain active. That is why preventing falls from occurring in the first place is so very important.
The good news is that falls can be prevented in two ways:
1: Addressing physical conditions and ailments that can cause falls
2: Fall-proofing the home
Here are five things that you can address to help prevent a loved one from falling:
1. Balance and gait: Aging and inactivity can cause us to lose flexibility, balance and core strength. That makes it easier to fall. Regular exercise is very effective in maintaining leg strength and balance.
2. Vision: Aging vision makes it more difficult to see contrasts between levels on the floor or the sidewalk. Tripping hazards are harder to see. Removing all throw rugs and piles of clutter in the home will help to avoid tripping and falling.
3. Medications: Review your loved one’s medications and look carefully at the side effects. Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness and other side effects that can lead to a fall.
4. Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age. These include installing grab bars by the sink and the toilet and more light fixtures throughout the house and external doors.
5. Chronic conditions: When a disease like diabetes, dementia, or arthritis are present, is can increase the risk of falls due to lost physical function, impaired vision or inability to decipher safe walking paths. Talk about these conditions with your loved one’s physician. They will help you to determine the best ways to keep them safe and prevent falls.
Home Care Assistance caregivers can help to prevent your loved one from falling. Our Care Managers can conduct a home assessment to make sure it is “fall-proof”. Our caregivers will create a daily care plan that will help your loved one to walk and move in order to gain strength and balance.
We provide older adults with quality care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives at home. Home Care Assistance caregivers will address the evolving needs of your loved one so that they can age in a positive, balanced way in a safe environment.