As your loved ones age, maintaining good balance can become more difficult than ever for them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, older Americans suffered 29 million falls. More importantly however is that senior adults are more likely to suffer severe injuries following a fall. As a leading in-home health care provider in Alpharetta, Trinity Life At Home understands the challenges that loved ones’ families and caregivers face when it comes to fall prevention. Therefore, we’d like to help you better understand the different risk factors and steps of prevention you can take to protect your elderly loved ones’ from falls.
Risk Factors for Falls For Older Adults
Falls among elderly adults can be associated with two different kinds of risk factors, including intrinsic risk factors and extrinsic risk factors. While intrinsic risk factors refer to the physical conditions of your loved one’s body, extrinsic ones are associated with their home environment. Below are some examples for your reference.
Intrinsic risk factors:
- Visual impairment
- Reduced muscle strength
- Loss of balance
- Low blood pressure
- Chronic medical conditions like arthritis or Alzheimer’s diseases
Extrinsic risk factors:
- Slippery floor surfaces
- Poor lighting
- Obstacles in pathways
- Improper use of support devices
- Poor-fitting shoes
Whether the risk factors are intrinsic and extrinsic, it’s important that you know what they are and have a game plan to reduce or potentially eliminate them, when possible.
Fall Prevention Strategies
Optimize Your Loved One’s Home and Make It Safe
Since your elderly loved one probably spends most of their time at home, make sure that this environment is as safe as possible for them. What seems to be harmless may cause serious fall injuries, so pay attention to how your loved one gets around the house and what seems to get in their way. Check the suggestion below and see if it would be applicable for your situation:
- Bathroom: Use non-slip mats on the bathroom floor and in the tub. Install grab bars both inside and outside the tub or shower. A shower chair can greatly improve the safety of taking showers. Whenever you notice spills of water on the floor, make sure that you clean them up.
- Livingroom: Try to create a clear, wide path by removing any clutter or furniture that can obstruct walking. Use non-slip backing tapes underneath rugs so that they will stay in place. Make sure that all the sofas and seats have armrests to support safe rising and sitting.
- Kitchen: Clear the counter space and ensure that frequently used items are accessible. Invest in a kitchen mat that has non-skid backing with no fringes. Also, replace glass items with plastic ones for safety.
Help Your Elderly Loved One Stay Active
By staying active, we mean both physically and mentally. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about the appropriate activity level and plan accordingly. As to help them remain physically active, you can engage them in a moderate exercise program or spend some time with them gardening. On the other hand, staying mentally active has proved to improve cognition and memory, which decreases the risk of falling among older adults. You can help boost your loved one’s brain health by playing games and puzzle with them or guiding them to websites that can boost their cognitive fitness. All the suggested activities can do wonder to your aging loved ones’ physical and mental health, hence decreases their risks of falling.
Review Your Loved One’s Medication
Did you know that one of the major risk factors for falls among older adults is medicine? With many medications there are side effects that you may not aware of that can cause balance issues potentially leading to falls and injuries. Talk to your loved one and follow up with their doctors to identify any medications that can cause balance issues. If drug alternatives are not an option, make sure that you are around after your loved one takes these medications to closely monitor their activities.
Trinity Life at Home – Your Trusted In-Home Health Care Provider in Alpharetta
As a leader in private duty home care services in Alpharetta, Trinity Life At Home pride itself on providing our clients with top-quality in-home care services. Our skillfully trained staff are here to help ensure a safe environment, fall-free environment for your elderly loved one.