As we grow older, our bones become more brittle, thus increasing one’s risk for falls and other injuries. Studies report that falls are among the leading cause of disability in older adults, along with other detrimental side effects such as hip fractures and broken bones.
In addition to the immediate injuries that occur from a fall, a senior who falls often requires a trip to the emergency room and a subsequent hospital stay. Surgeries and extended bed-rest further pose risks to seniors, one of the most common risks being infections. Because the immune system of elderly adults is not as strong as that of their younger counterparts, even the smallest infection can be extremely dangerous to a senior’s overall health.
As a leading provider of post-hospital care in Palm Beach County, we understand that falling is often the first event, triggering a domino effect leading to other serious health problems for the elderly. If you provide care for an aging parent or loved one, helping them put measures in place to avoid falls at home is of the utmost importance. Here are the top 5 ways in which you can help your aging loved one prevent falls:
- Clean. Be sure that your loved one’s home is clear of clutter. Remove all loose rugs, electrical cords, piles of books or magazines, and anything else that could cause them to trip and fall. Also, be sure that all hallways and doorways can be easily accessed or opened and that nothing is blocking them.
- Install lighting. Senior citizens often suffer from a decline in vision as they age. Be sure that the lighting in your loved one’s home is plentiful, especially in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and near stairs. Doing so will help them avoid falling over furniture or step-ups into rooms.
- Focus on the bathroom. Installing handlebars in the shower and a non-skid surface in the bottom of the bathtub or shower will enable your loved one to be more secure in their footing when bathing. If you think additional help is needed, consider help from a professional caregiver. As part of a Palm Beach hourly care plan, a highly trained caregiver can assist with bathing, dressing and grooming, treating your loved one with dignity and respect, while ensuring their safety.
- Examine medications. Some medications have side effects such as dizziness that can cause a person to fall and should be checked on a regular basis. If your aging parent or loved one has recently been prescribed a new medication, be on the look-out for changes in balance or behavior as the new medication may have adverse side effects or may be dangerous when combined with other medications.
- Check furniture. Old pieces of furniture may no longer be as sturdy as they used to, posing a fall risk to seniors who use them as aids to navigate through the home. Remove any pieces of furniture that are no longer stable and try to keep larger pieces in the same arrangement or location in the home. Familiar surroundings are not only comforting to an older adult, they can help minimize fall risk.
For more tips on how to keep your aging loved one safe, contact Home Care Assistance today. Offering specialty care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s, as well as flexible care anywhere from 4 to 24 hours a day, we are a premier provider of home care Palm Beach County families trust. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Care Managers directly at 561-429-8292 today.