Elderly Fall Prevention and Recovery
Health and Wellness
Self-help for fall Prevention
Although falling isn’t an inherent aspect of aging, it’s understandable that it is a leading fear among much of the elderly population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three older adults fall each year, and one out of five falls result in serious injury.
However, by staying active and making healthy lifestyle choices, many elderly individuals can prevent falls and continue enjoying independent lives. Leading fall prevention measures include:
- Exercise. In addition to benefitting overall health, exercising regularly is a great way to prevent elderly falls.
- Routine vision testing. Seeing clearly is key to getting around safely and preventing falls.
- Utilize assistive devices. Embrace equipment that helps maintain mobility safely. Examples include canes or walkers for improving balance and stability, or even simply making sure that seniors wear sturdy, low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles.
- Review medications. Certain medications can cause side effects that increase fall risk. Seniors should maintain a list of the medications they take and review it with their doctor during appointments.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol causes loss of coordination and increases the chance of side effects to medications, both of which increase fall risk, especially for the elderly.
- Create a safe living environment. Make home modifications to prevent falls. Remove tripping hazards (such as cords and throw rugs) from floors, improve lighting, and install railings and grab bars in areas of increased fall risk.
Just as it’s important to take measures to prevent elderly falls, it’s also important for seniors to properly recover from falls in order to prevent them from occurring again. If a senior is injured due to a fall, it may negatively affect recovery if it results in a decreased level of activity. Injuries may leave elderly loved ones with a limited range of motion.
After a fall, assess the incident with a doctor to search for causes, test mental function, and review all medications being taken.
Next, take action to prevent it from happening again – improve vision with new glasses or hearing with a hearing aid; adjustment or eliminate medications; and treat any other disease or condition that may be increasing an elderly individual’s fall risk.
The senior’s recovery should include exercises to increase range of motion and physical strength. Following a fall, it is good for elderly individuals to return to physical activity and social interaction as soon as possible to avoid becoming inactive and allowing the body to weaken.
Another important aspect of rehab is overcoming the fear of falling, which can begin a cycle of further falls. Fear of falling often leads to inactivity, which causes a decline to an elder’s condition, which makes them much more likely to suffer future falls.
Aids, such as walkers and grab bars, can decrease the likelihood of falling and increase confidence. Home care is also a great ally for elderly individuals who are recovering from a fall or at an increased risk of falling. Professional caregivers are trained to care for individuals with diseases or conditions that heighten their fall risk. They can also provide assistance and encouragement to help seniors stay fit and prevent injury from falls.
Seniors Home Care (SHC), a privately owned company operated by a Registered Nurse, has been providing professional and compassionate St. Louis-area elder care since 1987. SHC offers complete personal and household services that allow seniors to maintain their dignity and independence, wherever they call home.