Falls in older adults are all too common, and may have dire consequences. If you care for an aging adult, taking the time to put preventative measures in place to protect against falls is vitally important, such as reviewing the home environment for any hazards such as throw rugs, poor lighting, a lack of grab bars and railings, etc. But there’s one additional strategy we recommend as well: creating a fall plan of care, which, when implemented correctly, has been shown to reduce fall-related emergency room visits by as much as 40%.
Although we never want to plan for someone we love to fall, doing so does help us to be better equipped. The following steps to recommend to senior loved ones are a good place to start:
- Check your vision – Routine eye checkups and always wearing eyeglasses if required can help make sure tripping hazards are seen and avoided.
- Stay alert – Keep your mind from wandering and place your full attention on your surroundings.
- Improve balance – Exercises like lifting one foot up off the floor and balancing on the other foot for up to 30 seconds can help.
- Understand how to fall more safely to minimize the chance of injury. In particular:
- Keep the elbows and knees bent to avoid the stiffness that can lead to a break to the wrist or elbow when trying to catch yourself during a fall.
- Prevent a head injury by intentionally twisting your face away from the fall, or folding your chin towards your chest if falling backwards.
- Try to land on fatty tissue, such as on your bottom or thighs, rather than on more bony parts of the body, like the knees, hips, or elbows.
- Roll through the fall. This softens the impact of the fall over a more extensive portion of the body so it isn’t concentrated on just one area.
- Take these preventative steps to avoid a fall:
- Ensure floors are clean and dry, especially in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Pay attention to all walking areas, both inside and outside of the home, to ensure they don’t have any clutter or other falling risks, like electric cords.
- Install handrails alongside all stairwells.
- Put in grab bars alongside the bathtub and toilet.
- Remove/replace worn carpets and get rid of all loose rugs.
At Advanced Home Health Care, the trusted provider of home care in Stockport and the surrounding areas, we have a strong reputation for helping families ensure that their homes are as safe and secure as possible, and we are also on hand to help with safe walking/transfers and oversight when needed to help further reduce fall risk. In addition, we can help seniors stay engaged in physician-approved exercise programs to boost stability and flexibility, and many other services to improve health and wellbeing for seniors.