If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is essential to quality of life. Assessing and reducing their fall risk is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.
Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions, loss of independence, and injury-related deaths. Even the fear of falling impacts our elderly loved ones. According to the National Council on Aging, “Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness.”
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of falling. Even people of advanced age can improve their balance markedly with the right exercise program or physical therapy. Consider talking to your doctor.
There are also steps you can take in the home, where 60% of falls occur.
- Turn on the lights before entering a room and replace burned-out bulbs immediately.
- Avoid throw-rugs. Use non-skid rugs or add double-sided tape to rugs, making sure they are flat and tacked down at the edges.
- Use night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
- Use grab bars and non-slip strips or mats in the bathtub or shower.
- Keep walkways clear of electrical cords, oxygen tubes, and clutter.
- Coil or tape cords next to the wall.
The National Council on Aging has great information for preventing falls for yourself or a loved one in your care. Falls Prevention for Older Adults (ncoa.org)
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