CarePatrol of Sarasota and LWR wants seniors to be healthy and independent for as long as possible. However, an unexpected fall can drastically hinder that independent lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four adults over age 65 has a fall each year. One in five falls results in serious injury – such a broken bone or head injury. Severe falls can lead to emergency room visits, hospitalizations and even surgery, which may be followed by rehabilitation stays.
Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These are called risk factors. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include:
• Lower body weakness
• Vitamin D deficiency (that is, not enough vitamin D in your system)
• Difficulties with walking and balance
• Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
• Vision problems
• Foot pain or poor footwear
• Home hazards or dangers such as broken or uneven steps, and throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over.
Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling.
The best solution to unwanted falls is prevention. Help cut down a person’s risk by reducing the fall risk factors listed above and keep your loved one on their feet with these five F’s:
1. Floors – Keep the floors clear for walking. Remove throw rugs, as they can be a trip hazard. Establish clear spaces for your loved one to walk to and from the bathroom and to the unit’s exit. Also, wipe up spills as they occur to avoid puddles and slippery floors.
2. Furniture – All the furniture your loved one insisted on moving might not fit well in the smaller space. Consider doing a “room makeover” together. Assess whether furniture is really needed or is strong enough to lean on if your loved one loses their balance. Some smaller items, such as footstools or plastic storage units on wheels, could cause trouble underfoot.
3. Footwear – For safety reasons, sturdy footwear with nonslip soles is best. It might be hard for a long-time fashionista to give up high heels. Make their safety a reason to go shopping for some practical but pretty shoes. If an excursion isn’t possible, select and order shoes from online retailers that offer free returns.
4. Focus – Good vision can help prevent falls. It’s important for older adults to have their vision checked at least annually. Cataracts, other health conditions or some medications can cause significant changes in vision. Getting around in the dark can also be a concern. Install automatic or motion-sensitive night lights so it’s easier to find the way to the toilet at night.
5. Fear of falling – Encourage your loved one to be active. Older adults may want to limit their activities after a fall. This can further diminish their balance and strength, making another fall more likely. Find fun ways to encourage more movement. For instance, check the activity schedule for a yoga or exercise class. Or, when you visit, walk the grounds together while you chat.
CarePatrol cares about your loved one before, during and after the move to community living. Our goal is to help seniors find safer living options and enjoy life in the best possible place.
We looking forward to guiding you and your family with a Safe Way to Start 2019 and throughout the New Year!
Call us Today at 941-237-0846