Falls are a major public health concern for older adults. They are the leading cause of injury-related death in people aged 65 and older, and they can also lead to serious injuries such as hip fractures.
As people grow older, the risk of falling becomes higher, which can lead to serious injury, loss of independence, and reduced quality of life. This risk can be particularly significant for those living at home, where they may be more exposed to hazards that can cause falls. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to prevent falls in the elderly population.
Connected Health, Ireland’s premium independent, private homecare provider, is dedicated to providing effective, safe and compassionate homecare that is delivered, with the optional support of the latest digital technology, for your loved ones. If you are concerned about the risk of falls for an elderly loved one, Connected Health can provide expert advice and support.
Identify and Remove Hazards
One of the best ways to prevent falls in older adults living at home is to identify and remove any hazards that may increase their risk of falling. This may include removing loose rugs, ensuring that all walkways are clear of clutter and obstacles, and ensuring that lighting is adequate in all areas of the home. Grab bars can be installed in bathrooms to provide additional support, and non-slip mats can be used to prevent slips and falls.
Stay Physically Active
One of the most important things is to stay physically active. Regular exercise can help older adults maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, which can reduce their risk of falling. It also helps to build muscle strength, which can help to prevent injuries if a fall does occur.
Encourage your loved one to engage in activities such as walking, yoga, or swimming, which can improve their balance and coordination. If your loved one is hesitant to exercise alone, consider joining them for a walk or enrolling them in a fitness class.
Certain medications can increase the risk of falls in older adults. If your loved one is taking medication, it is important to review their medications with their doctor to determine if any of them may increase their risk of falling. If necessary, the doctor may be able to adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication that is less likely to cause falls.
If you have any medical conditions that could increase your risk of falling, such as arthritis or vision problems, be sure to talk to your doctor about how to manage those conditions. You may also want to consider taking a fall prevention class.
Ensure Proper Footwear
Proper footwear can play a significant role in preventing falls in older adults. Encourage your loved one to wear shoes with non-slip soles that fit well and provide adequate support. Avoid high heels, which can be unstable, and make sure that shoelaces are tied properly to prevent tripping.
Install Safety Devices
In addition to removing hazards, installing safety devices can help reduce the risk of falls in older adults living at home. This may include installing handrails on stairs and in bathrooms, using a raised toilet seat, and using a shower chair. A personal emergency response system can also provide peace of mind in the event of a fall or other emergency.
Here are some specific tips for preventing falls in the elderly population:
- Stay physically active. Exercise helps to improve balance and coordination, which can help to prevent falls. It also helps to build muscle strength, which can help to prevent injuries if a fall does occur. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Make your home safe. Remove any clutter or tripping hazards, and make sure that there is good lighting. You may also want to install grab bars in the bathroom and near the stairs.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. Some medications can increase the risk of falling. If you are taking any medications, be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects.
- Get regular eye exams. Vision problems can increase the risk of falls. Be sure to get regular eye exams to make sure that your vision is good.
- Wear supportive shoes. Shoes that are comfortable and provide good support can help to prevent falls. Avoid wearing high heels or slippery shoes.
- Use assistive devices. If you have difficulty walking, consider using a cane or walker. These devices can help to improve your balance and stability.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to where you are walking and avoid walking in areas that are dark or slippery.
- Take your time. Don’t rush when you are walking or doing other activities. Take your time and be careful.
- Ask for help when you need it. If you are not sure if you can do something safely, ask for help from a friend, family member, or caregiver.
Fall prevention is important for everyone, but it is especially important for older adults. Preventing falls in the elderly population is crucial for maintaining independence and quality of life. By identifying and removing hazards, encouraging exercise, reviewing medications, ensuring proper footwear, and installing safety devices, you can significantly reduce the risk of falls in older adults living at home, while also helping them to keep themselves safe and independent.
Connected Health is dedicated to providing effective, safe and compassionate homecare that is delivered, with the optional support of the latest digital technology, for your loved ones. If you are concerned about the risk of falls for an elderly loved one, contact Connected Health for expert advice and support.
Connected Health can provide personalized care plans that meet their unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you and your loved ones live life to the fullest.