Chances of falling and becoming severely injured increase significantly with age. One in three adults age 65 and older falls every year, and 20 to 30 percent of those who fall endure moderate to severe injuries. Perhaps even more troubling is that less than half of those seniors who fall speak to their healthcare providers about it, preventing them from pinpointing potential future risk factors and receiving proper guidance to avoid another debilitating fall.
BrightStar Care of Lake County helped identify some of the key risk factors for falls, and offered helpful precautionary measures designed to prevent your aging loved one from experiencing one.
Here are five common causes of falls, according to BrightStar Care:
1) Impaired vision
Impairments often linked to aging, such as cataracts and glaucoma, can alter depth perception, visual acuity, peripheral vision, and exposure to glare.
- Try adding color and contrast to help seniors easily identify objects, like handrails and grab bars.
- Make sure your loved one gets their vision (and hearing!) checked each year, or any time a change is noticed.
2) Home Hazards
Homes get cluttered, and clutter leads to falls. Even the least cluttered of homes is full of surprising fall hazards.
- Eliminate anything that you could trip over, like loose carpeting, rugs, and raised doorway thresholds.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom and proper, sturdy railings on both sides of stairways.
- Keep the house well-lit, making use of night-lights or even keeping overhead lights on in hallways and bathrooms, especially at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Use nonskid floor wax.
- Store things on lower shelves, so you don’t need to climb or reach.
- Declutter! Keep pathways clear of electrical cords and other hazards.
Many prescription drugs, such as sedatives and anti-depressants, reduce mental alertness, affect balance, and cause drops in blood pressure. Mixing certain medications increases these side effects.
- Have a home care professional carefully monitor medications.
- Educate yourself on the side effects of prescribed medications, and ask a doctor or pharmacist if any of them affect balance.
- Talk to a doctor about how a combination of two or more medicines works together. Often, combos of medicines can cause dizziness or sleepiness, increasing susceptibility to falls.
4) Weakness, low balance
This one is a given—weakness and lack of mobility cause seniors to be more prone to falls.
- Regular exercise boosts strength and tones muscle, helping seniors to stay active and independent.
- Wear low-heeled, nonskid shoes that give feet adequate support.
- Ensure that walkers or canes cater to the individual. Replacing the rubber tip when it becomes worn is a must.
5) Chronic conditions
Conditions such as Parkinson’s, heart disease, and other chronic ailments increase risk of falling.
- Enlist specially-trained caregivers to make sure patients follow treatment plans, make their doctor appointments, and recognize red flags.
- Use an alert device or a cordless phone that can easily and quickly summon help in case a loved one does fall and cannot get up.
BrightStar Care takes a unique approach to decreasing fall risk by pairing specialized clinical expertise with important patient education resources. This approach empowers families and their aging loved ones. If you believe your loved one is at risk of falling, visit their website to schedule a free home assessment to identify risk factors and create a comprehensive plan to decrease the likelihood of experiencing a fall.
Every 15 seconds across the US, a senior citizen is sent to the ER due to a fall-related injury. Contact BrightStar Care of Lake County to ensure your loved ones maintain the safety and independence they deserve.
9521 Indianapolis Blvd Suite O, Highland, IN 46322
115 S Court St Suite D, Crown Point, IN 46307
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