Senior adult falls can cause devastating injuries and have long-term effects on the overall health of an older loved one. They can also be fatal. The good news, however, is that most falls are preventable.
With some knowledge, lifestyle adjustments, and support from adult children, both aging parents and grandparents can greatly reduce the risks of falling. Reducing fall risks is crucial as the hip fractures and head injuries that too often result can be devastating for an otherwise healthy senior.
For starters, September 23, or the first day of fall, is National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. The event is hosted by the National Council on Aging and offers a wide range of educational tools and materials to learn about the impact of senior falls and the costs to their families. More information and resources can be found here.
Family members can confront the issue now by determining the relative risk level of a senior parent and whether additional assistance is needed. Consider these warning signs:
- Decline in mental alertness
- A recent fall, or near-fall
- Vision problems
- Balance issues
- Frailty and muscular weakness
- Changes in physical health, such as a recent surgery
Other prevention tips to consider include finding exercise support groups that offer evidence-based programs, such as Tai Chi. Helping a senior loved one get screened for osteoporosis, and having his or her prescription medications evaluated for side effects, like dizziness, are also manageable precautions.
Home safety measures can further reduce or eliminate senior adult falls, including:
- Improving lighting both inside and outside a senior parent’s home
- Removing rugs or securing their edges to the floor
- Fixing broken floorboards, cracked pavement and other uneven surfaces
- Rearranging furniture to create wide walkways
- Removing clutter and small objects from the floor
- Adding grab bars to bathtubs, stairways and toilet areas
We know that this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. If you are ready to create a plan to protect your older loved ones, do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a meeting.