Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

Fall prevention is a very important topic for all aging adults. Fall prevention in the elderly can help keep a loved one safe and healthy for as long as possible. Unfortunately, a fall can be debilitating for an older adult.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for Americans 65 years of age and older. Helping to prevent such a problem does not mean committing to a sedentary lifestyle of limited mobility, however.

Fall prevention at home can help an aging adult minimize the potential hazards within and around the home. Fall prevention tips also include other health check-ups and regular exercise, among other strategies. Implementing these ideas can be a good idea for yourself as you age as well as ensuring that your aging loved ones are cared for and are as protected as possible while still at home. Taking the time and care to monitor these issues can be a true life-saver.

Fall Prevention for Seniors

Fall prevention for seniors can help minimize the problems that inevitably face all aging adults. While most falls do not cause any serious injuries, one out of every five falls does severely impact that adult’s life, making it harder to complete daily tasks and to live independently. The following are some major concerns for seniors who fall:

  • Broken bones: Hip fractures, as well as broken wrists, arms or ankles, can cause long-term negative effects for an elderly adult. Broken bones are harder to recover from as we age.
  • Head injuries: Falling can cause serious head injuries, especially for any older adult who takes blood thinning medication. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunately common injury.
  • Inhibiting fears: After falling, many older adults then fear falling again and can therefore limit their activities. In doing so, those older adults actually become even more susceptible to another fall. Staying active helps minimize the dangers.

Related Article: Continuing Care Communities

Fall prevention tips include everything from exercising more to adapting your home for fewer hazards and risks. Additionally, you should regularly have your vision checked by an optometrist since the loss of your vision can increase your risk of falling. Make sure your eyeglasses are updated and that you wear them as recommended. Another great tip is to utilize walking aids. While you might want to limit your dependence and avoid canes or walkers, using such aids can help you to stay balanced and to maintain your confidence.

Fall Prevention at Home

Preventing falls at home can be as easy as walking through to evaluate potential hazards. Look carefully for the following areas of concern:

  • Lighting: Make sure the lighting throughout your home is easily available and powerful. Getting up in the middle of the night or navigating stairs that are poorly lit can be a major concern.
  • Stairs: If you do not live on a single level, then make sure you have two secure handrails along all stairways.
  • Flooring: Check every floor surface for any loose carpet, uneven floorboards or throw rugs that slide around. Be sure to address any of those as and when you find them to avoid unnecessary tripping.
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms should have grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they are installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.

Fall prevention at home can mean making some simple adjustments yourself, but you might also need the assistance of a professional who will spot potential hazards better than you might be able to. You might want to consider enlisting the help of an occupational therapist to help you to evaluate your home and to minimize the risks while maximizing your independence. Remember that any investment you make in adapting your home is an investment in your independence. If you can comfortably and safely live at home, then you are providing yourself with the opportunity to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle as you age.

Fall Prevention Tips

After adapting your home for fall prevention, there are additional strategies and tips you can implement to try to avoid such a concern. Medical issues and a lack of exercise are two prominent issues that can be addressed in their own ways to try to mitigate the risks of falling.

Medical Concerns

Fall prevention for the elderly can be assessed through a medical evaluation. Taking certain medications, adjusting to decreasing mobility and lacking vitamins and nutrients can all increase the risk of a dangerous fall. To try to minimize your risks based on medical concerns, try to work on the following problematic areas:

  • Reducing the number of medications you need to take can also decrease your risk of side effects.
  • Utilizing assistive devices, such as canes or walkers, can address any gait or balance problems you might already have.
  • Doing physical or occupational therapy sessions can help you to increase your strength and mobility for everyday tasks.
  • Getting enough vitamin D and calcium, whether through a nutritious diet or supplements or both, is vital to your bone health and can decrease your risk of bone fractures should you fall.
  • Treating your vision problems, perhaps through corrective lenses or cataract surgery, can greatly reduce your risk of falling and can offer you additional confidence in maneuvering throughout the world.

Fall Prevention Exercises

Exercises for fall prevention can help you to increase your strength and flexibility as well as your balance. As you age, you lose muscle mass and bone density. Staying active and continuing to exercise, or starting to exercise if you never have before, can reduce your risks and increase your options for independence. The best time to start fall prevention exercises is right now.

Fall Prevention Programs

One of the best fall prevention strategies you can implement, whether for yourself or for an aging loved one, is to participate in a community-based prevention program. The National Council on Aging offers a variety of evidence-based fall prevention programs that offer structured assistance to those at risk of falling. These programs include everything from counseling on the fear of falling to exercise and fitness classes. The NCOA approves these programs in an effort to provide all the support our aging adults need to stay safe and happy at home.

Remember: Fall prevention is not accomplished simply by sitting down all the time! Staying active, being healthy and maintaining a realistic outlook on your capabilities can all help you to mitigate your risk while being comfortable and confident in your own home for as long as possible.

Related Article: How to Manage Arthritis

It might also interest you: