A falls prevention protocol should be in place if you have an aged loved one living on their own. A aging parent or grandparent, is extremely susceptible to falling. Insuring that their home or apartment is obstacle free is the key to staying healthy. Alarmingly, the CDC says that every twenty minutes a senior citizens dies from a fall, and many more are injured.
Statistics show that one in four older Americans falls every year. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.
Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.
Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can still cause an older adult to become fearful making it difficult for them to stay active.
Falls Prevention: Factors Leading To A Fall
Here are the factors that make the aged more susceptible to falling:
Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina,making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
Balance: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
Falls Prevention: Safety Proof Their Home
The key to falls prevention is making their home or apartment safe. Here are key areas in the home you need to review:
Lighting: House lights should be bright, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Light switches should be easily accessible when getting up in the middle of the night.
Stairs: Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs. The stairs should be slip free.
Bathrooms: Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower. If the bathtub has a climb over wall, consider remodeling it into a walk-in.