One of the biggest fears for those aged 65+ is falling at home and getting hurt while no one else is there. According to statistics compiled by the CDC, one in four aging adults falls annually, but fewer than half inform their doctor about the accident. Research would also indicate that falling once doubles a senior’s risk of falling again within a few years. Sadly, a fear of falling also keeps many seniors from getting the physical activity they need. For that aging loved one in your life, these fall-prevention tips for seniors could be the key to a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Fall Statistics in the Elderly
After falling at home, millions of older Americans are treated in emergency departments and urgent care centers each year. Of those, over 800,000 are hospitalized for fall-related injuries and some lose their independence permanently as a result.
Here are more sobering statistics about senior falls:
- One-in-five falls cause serious injuries like head trauma or broken bones.
- Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- At the current rate, by 2030 there will be seven deaths every hour due to falls.
- In 2015 alone, Medicare and Medicaid paid out $37 billion in claims for fall-related incidents.
Why Are Older Adults More Fall-Prone?
Seniors are more fall-prone because of these medical conditions and other contributing factors:
- Vision loss
- Poor balance and coordination
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Diminished lower body strength
- Foot pain or inadequate footwear
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Certain medications that affect balance and coordination
- Trip hazards around the home
Fall-Prevention Ideas to Keep the Seniors in Your Life Safe
Doing everything possible to keep your aging loved one from falling starts with these tips:
Offer your assistance
Respectfully share your concerns with your loved one and offer to help. If you face resistance at first, show them some fall statistics and discuss specific examples of seniors they know who were injured after falling. Once you have their approval, it’ll be time to get started.
Get their balance tested
Holding onto walls or furniture just to get around could indicate that your loved one’s balance and coordination are off. Take them to the doctor or physical therapist so that they can conduct a Fall Risk Assessment. Based on the results, discuss with the healthcare professional specific ways that you can help. If needed, find them a walker or cane to help support their weight.
Because regular exercise improves balance, coordination, and lower body strength, encourage your loved one to participate in low-impact forms of exercise like Yoga, walking, or stationary cycling. For someone with limited mobility, workouts like swimming or water aerobics provide the same health benefits without placing additional stress on achy joints.
Modify their home
Use these home modification tips to create a safer environment for your senior:
Install grab bars in the bathing area and near the toilet. Place non-skid strips in the tub and remove slippery throw rugs from the room. Make sure the bathroom has adequate lighting and, if needed, get a shower seat and hand-held shower nozzle.
Eliminate trip and fall hazards around the home, like small furniture, electrical cords, and area rugs.
Attach secure railings on both sides of the stairs and ensure that the steps are well lit. If your loved one suffers from poor vision, place fluorescent strips on the front of each step.
Book an eye exam
If your senior squints a lot while watching TV, take them to the eye doctor for a thorough examination. Sometimes a new pair of eyeglasses goes a long way in preventing falls. If they wear bifocals or have lenses that darken outside, make sure they know how to use them safely while negotiating stairs after returning indoors.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home in South Bend
Implementing solid fall-prevention strategies for the seniors in your life isn’t always easy when you’re busy or live far away. At Senior1Care of South Bend, our compassionate, hard-working, and honest professional caregivers love helping seniors in Granger, Osceola, Mishawaka, and the greater South Bend area. While serving as an extended family in the home, we proudly provide non-medical home care services to seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities.
Our dedicated staff is composed of skilled, well-trained, and experienced caregivers who are experts at providing non-medical home care services that include live-in care, companion care, personal care, and respite care. To learn more about Senior1Care of South Bend, or schedule an appointment for a senior, please visit us now at www.senior1care.com.