Fall Prevention for Seniors

Apr 14, 2014 by

exercise seniorsUnfortunately, The risk of falling increases with age.

“Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.

Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Fortunately, Falls are mostly preventable. Falls do not need to be an inevitable part of aging. There are simple actions steps to care for yourself and reduce your risk of falls.

Fall proofing your Minnesota home and making smart life style choices are key to aging safely and maximizing independence.

1. Ask for help!

Don’t take chances or let your pride get in the way.  If you feel unsteady or at risk, just ask for help from a family member, senior care manager or anyone nearby. It is your strength not a weakness.  And, It is easier, and cheaper, to prevent a fall than to treat a fall.

 2.  Declutter your home

I can’t tell you how many times over the years as a geriatric care manager I have gone into homes of Minnesota seniors, (and not seniors) and it was so cluttered that at every turn there was a fall risk and certainly confusing for anyone with memory issues. Seniors with memory loss are at a higher risk of fall too.

Remove all hazards for your home like extra furniture, boxes, throw rugs, stacks of books and papers, laundry/clothes on the floor, anything to clear the pathways and reduce the possibility of tripping and falling.

3. Organize your space.

Have items you frequently use easily accessible, and within easy reach without standing on a stool.  Remove excess items out of the way and better yet, out of the house, that you are not using any more and are only going to make your environment disorganized and cluttered.

assistive device

4. Assistive Devices/Home Modifications

Bathrooms are a high-risk area for falls.  For people over 85, more than half of their injuries occur near the toilet.  Ask your doctor for an occupational therapy home evaluation for specific and individualize home modifications and assistive devices for you. Some suggests are:

  • Raised toilet seats with armrests
  • Grab bars strategically placed
  • Bath benches and chairs
  • Remove throw rugs
  • Bed rails
  • Stair rails on both sides both inside and outside
  • Long handled reachers
  • Well lighted spaces – night lights, easily accessible lights and light switches
  • Appropriate mobility devices, like a cane, or rolling walker.

One local resource for adaptive equipment is Active-Medical.com, and Handimedical.com

assistive devices for seniors, adaptive equipment5. PERS, Personal Emergency Response System

There are many different types of PERS, such as Lifeline, that are a button worn by the senior that they can push in an emergency, such as a fall.  When pushed the button contacts the monitoring company and they proceed to communicate with the senior and gets them immediate help.

6. Exercise/Stay Active

It is important to keep moving and maintaining your balance, strength and flexibility. Ask your doctor for physical therapy to regain your mobility and strength and to set up a customized exercise program for you.

Join a movement or exercise classes for seniors, such as Tai Chi or balance programs.

7. Review medications

Have all your medications, even if they are from different doctors, reviewed by one doctor, or nurse or senior care manager. Sometime medications and the combination of them can impact balance, cognition, and daily energy levels which can increase the risk of falls.

help for seniors8.  Ask for help!

Ok, I know I started with this one and I want to end with asking for help too.

Asking for help is most important and it seems to be the hardest to do.

Don’t take chances. If you feel like there is any risk in falling, wWait and get someone to assist you.  Foresight/prevention is better than hindsight and saying afterwards, “I wish I had asked for help.”

 

 

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