More than 25% of seniors fall at least once every year. There are several reasons why seniors are prone to falling. It may be due to the medications they are taking, it may be due to balance issues, or a medical condition that may increase fall risk.
There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls among seniors. This article will review common fall causes and how you can keep your loved one safe.
Why Do Seniors Fall?
Seniors fall for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Dulled Senses: Seniors may fall because their hearing and eyesight are failing or because their reflexes aren’t as sharp as they once were.
- Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like thyroid issues, heart disease, and diabetes may affect balance.
- Cognitive Issues: Adults with dementia and other cognitive issues are more likely to fall.
- Loss of Muscle Mass: As people age, they lose muscle mass resulting in a condition called sarcopenia. The reduced muscle mass makes them more prone to imbalance.
- Medications: Certain medications may cause dizziness.
- Blood Pressure Drops: Older people are prone to blood pressure drops when they get up from sitting or lying down. This condition, called postural hypotension, increases fall risk.
- Incontinence: Incontinence may cause a senior to rush to the bathroom. The rushed movement can result in a fall.
- Safety Hazards: Clutter and safety hazards around the home can cause a senior to trip and fall.
How to Prevent Falls
Seniors can prevent falls by taking the following steps:
- Stay Active: Physical activity will reduce the risk of sarcopenia. It will also decrease bone loss which makes fractures more likely to happen if a fall occurs. Walking, climbing stairs, and some weight-bearing exercises are recommended. Seniors should also engage in workouts that increase balance like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.
- Keep Your Home Free of Safety Hazards: You can fall-proof your home by eliminating clutter and ensuring there’s enough lighting in dark areas. Install handrails and slip-proof strips where necessary. Make sure your flooring is fixed to the floor. Avoid using area rugs.
- Have Your Hearing and Eyesight Tested: Have your hearing and eyesight tested regularly to ensure your glasses and hearing aids are doing their job. When your senses are sharpened, you’ll be less likely to fall.
- Talk to Your Doctor About Medication Side Effects: Talk to your doctor about medications that are making you tired or dizzy. They may switch you to a drug that doesn’t cause unwanted side effects.
- Use an Assistive Device: An assisted device like a cane or a walker will help maintain your balance. Talk to a physical or occupational therapist to ensure you are using a device that supports your needs.
- Choose Supportive Footwear: Rubber-soled low-heeled shoes will support your feet, so you are less likely to fall.
- Keep Your Hands Free: Wear backpacks, shoulder bags, or fanny packs so you can leave your hands free to hold on to railings.
- Avoid Alcohol: An excess of alcohol can cause balance problems.
- Get Enough Sleep: You are more likely to fall when you are tired.
- Avoid Icy Surfaces: If you live in a snowy climate, make sure your walkways are de-iced before going outside. Use salt or sand to clear ice from your front door area. Refrain from going out in inclement weather. Count on delivery services instead.
- Stand Up Slowly: Standing up slowly will reduce the risk of blood pressure drops that cause falls.
- Talk to Your Doctor About Falls: You should always mention falls to your doctor, even if they didn’t cause injury. A fall could be a sign of a new condition or an issue with your medications. Your doctor will take steps to prevent future falls.
Get a Home Aide
A home aide can be very useful in preventing falls. They can:
- Ensure walkways are safe
- Run errands and de-ice walkways in inclement weather
- Encourage your loved one to stay active
- Encourage your loved one to see a doctor, get enough sleep and limit alcohol intake
- Be there if a fall occurs so they can help your loved one or call for help if necessary
- Assist your loved one in getting up from lying and sitting positions
- Take note of symptoms that are increasing fall risk
Ashe Home Care Aides Will Keep Your Loved One Safe
There are many health home aide companies to choose from, but Ashe Home Care takes an approach that sets us apart. We are a small, family-run business dedicated to treating our clients with the utmost care and respect. We can work out a personalized home care plan best suited to your loved one’s needs.
Our health home aides will do everything we can to keep your loved one safe and healthy. Contact us to discover what we have to offer.