How safe is your elder loved one from falling?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls have become the leading cause of injury and death for people 65 years old and older. In 2008, approximately 19,700 seniors died because of fall-sustained injuries and more than 1.6 million seniors were admitted to the hospital for hip fractures and other injuries.
Although a serious risk at any age, falling is a more common problem for the elderly population because of Â bone fragility, bone loss and osteoporosis.
What causes the dangerous tumble?
There are many factors that can lead to a fall. Â Here are some reasons why older people fall more often.
Medications. Taking multiple medications can increase the risk of falling; sedatives, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs included.
Lack of exercise. Failure to move about and exercise regularly leads to poor muscle tone and loss of balance.
Not wearing prescribed glasses. As one grows older, age-related vision diseases emerge. Impaired vision might make the senior bump into objects that will lead to the fall.
Medical conditions and surgeries. Health conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease cause extreme weakness, cognitive impairment, pain and discomfort. It will make the elderly person lose his grip and and lose balance.
Environmental hazards. 41.4% of accidents among the elderly happen at home.
Ways to eliminate the risk of falling
Not every fall can be prevented, but here are 5 ways to decrease the chance of falling.
It is best to find out the possible side effects and adverse effects of the medications your elderly loved one takes. Certain medications can cause dizziness, confusion, sudden sleepiness that might affect the coordination and balance of a person. Some medications do not work well together.
On your next visit to the doctor, bring the prescribed medicines, vitamins, minerals and herbal products taken to ensure the senior’s safety.
Be physically active.
Nothing beats regular exercise. Physical activity is the first line of defense fractures and falls. It can enhance the senior’s coordination, increase flexibility and give them the ability of staying steady on their feet. Some simple exercises include the heel-to-toe walk or the flamingo stand. These simple exercises should be done next to a person or railing that can be used for balance when your loved one becomes unsteady.
A senior should also not engage in rigid exercises, unless recommended by the doctor. Gentle, at-home exercises just might do the trick.
Remedy vision problems that are already present. Have your elderly parent visit the doctor to check if he or her vision has already changed. Even a small change in vision can affect the balance of your loved one.
Make sure that your parent is also wearing his or her prescribed eyeglasses so that they can see their surroundings clearly.
Visit the doctor regularly.
Getting regular check-ups can give the doctor a view of the senior’s overall health. The doctor may then prescribe new medication or issue a new pair of eyeglasses as he or she deems necessary.
Build a fall-proof environment.
Make your home a hazard-free zone for your elder loved one by changing some personal lifestyle factors that may promote falling.
- Install grab bars in the shower or bathroom
- Make sure stairs and handrails are sturdy
- Choose safe footwear
- Keep the place well lighted to aid vision
- Remove any furniture not needed. Remaining furniture must not be sharp around the edges
- Keep rugs tacked to the floor
- Frequently used items should be within reach
- Electrical cords must be kept away, and not trailing across the floor
- Set up aÂ medical alert system for your elder loved one
Let me ask now, how safe is your elder loved one from falling?
About the Author
Based in San Diego, California, Melissa Page is a professional writer and marketer who works with successful companies such as the ICan Benefit Group. When she is not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.