Falls are the leading cause of injury of people over the age of 65 and can cause hip fractures, head injuries and even death. More than 40% of seniors who experience a hip fracture are not able to return home and live independently again. As a person ages there are many reasons a fall may occur such as poor balance, loss of muscle mass, decreasing overall strength, poor vision, medical conditions, medication side effects and Dementia are all contributing factors.
Discussing these risks with the senior’s physician can be a good start to see if medication changes could improve issues that may cause falls. Yoga or Tai Chi specifically targeted to seniors has proven to be an excellent therapy to increase strength and balance and reduce the risk of falls. The gentle, fluid movement of these exercises are more senior friendly since they do not stress joints or require a lot of physical endurance. Regular exercise and even strength training can also be of great benefit to help retain muscle mass and improve overall health.
A healthy diet should not be ignored since getting adequate nutrition every day has a huge impact on general health and avoid vitamin and mineral deficits. A large percentage of seniors who live alone tend to eat foods that don’t require a lot of preparation such as microwave dinners, processed foods and sugar. Couple that with the fact that seniors often lose their ability to recognize when they are getting thirsty places them at a high risk for malnutrition, dehydration and falls. This alone causes 15 million emergency room visits for American seniors every year.
It’s best to take a preventive approach and make some necessary changes in the home environment and lifestyle before a crisis takes place.
Here are a few additional tips to reduce the risk of falls and injuries in the home:
*Learn how to use a cane or walker properly
*Clean up clutter around the home and remove electrical cords and telephone wires
*Install grab bars and handrails in the bathroom, bedroom and hallways
*Add proper lighting to living areas to ensure better visibility
*Add nonslip backing to carpet and rugs and nonslip bath and shower mats
*Wear shoes with rubber soles or specially made slippers or socks with nonslip surfaces
*Use nightlights or motion sensor lights in hallways and bathrooms
*Use a raised toilet seat
*Move slowly and take your time to adjust from a sitting to standing positon.
*Avoid stairs or install an electric ‘sit and ride’ device to safely navigate stairways
*Wear a 24 hour medical alert system so help can be dispatched quickly in the event of a fall or emergency
*Begin Home Care services to oversee general health and wellbeing
*Consider a placement into long-term care facility
If you’re questioning a loved one’s ability to remain safely in their home; please contact Adult Care Pro to assess your individual circumstances
360-254-6111 or 877 373-6111