Did you know that falls are one of the leading causes of injury in elderly Americans? In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 suffer injury due to falls each year – some of which are fatal. Falls can lead to head injuries, broken bones, and hip fractures, and even falls that don’t lead to a major injury can cause feelings of depression or anxiety, which can be difficult to overcome. Thankfully, there are a few ways to prevent falls, some of which we are going to discuss in this article.
- Discuss Any Recent Health Conditions
If you have a loved one over the age of 65, the first thing you’ll want to do is discuss their recent health conditions with them. Are they having any trouble getting around their home, or do they often forget to take prescribed medication on time? Is it becoming harder for them to do daily tasks that used to be second nature? If they are having trouble, it’s a good idea to encourage them to speak to their healthcare provider and seek help. Medicare offers a number of preventative services that they may be able to take advantage of.
- Enlist Their Support
Once you are aware of any current health conditions that your loved one suffers from, it’s time to enlist their support. Lots of elderly people are aware of the risk of falls, but many believe that it will not happen to them. Unfortunately, this is not often the case, so it’s a good idea to get them on board early on. If you’ve noticed your loved one suffers from dizziness, or problems with balance, discuss this with their health care provider. And also look into websites like MedicalAlertSystemReviews.net who review fall detection and wearable help devices. It might be a good idea, with your loved one’s agreement, to have some of these items installed in their property.
- Ask About Their Last Optician Appointment
Lots of elderly people wear glasses to enable them to see, but glasses can be dangerous if the prescription isn’t current. Tint changing lenses, for example, can cause problems when walking into a dark room, from outside where the light is bright. It can be hard to regain focus, and this can lead to falls. You could suggest that your loved one waits until their eyes have adjusted, or changes glasses upon entry into their home. Bifocals can also cause problems with navigating stairs. If in doubt, make an appointment with an eye doctor and take their advice.
- Assess the Safety of Their Home
In addition to assessing the health of your loved one, you should also assess the safety of their home. An occupational therapist should be able to offer assistance with this matter, but a few of the things you want to check are whether there is sufficient lighting, especially near the top and bottom of the stairs, and that rails are in place where required to make navigation easier. You may also want to install safety handles on the bath tub and next to the toilet, as the bathroom is one of the main rooms where most falls happen. The Centers for Disease Control website offers a checklist that may help you in this regard.
At the end of the day, we love our elderly family members, and we would probably never forgive ourselves were something to happen to them. By following the tips and advice in this article, you should be able to take a few preventative measures that will help ensure your loved ones’ safety.