Older Adults and Falls: Top 6 Tips for Awareness & Prevention

warning sign,caution, industrial, grungy style, vectorHave you ever received a phone call from an older family member that started like this… “I’ve fallen. I’m hurt.”  Northern Kentucky caregivers who have experienced this scenario know firsthand the fear it creates. How badly is Mom hurt?  How did this happen?  A variety of questions race through your mind as you try to make your way to your loved one’s house. As a caregiver, there is often guilt that comes along with a fall.  Was this fall preventable?  What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

 

Fall Prevention Awareness

To keep the older adults in your life free from falls, the aging experts at St. Charles Community have pulled together a few insights and tips to help caregivers in Northern Kentucky:

  • Be aware of how dangerous falls can be for older adults. And remind them. Falls remain the number one source of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults. The most typical injuries include a fractured hip, broken bone, or concussion. 
  • The majority of falls occur in the home.  Falls occur most on stairs, bathrooms, and near the bed. Seniors also experience a high rate of falls getting in to and out of cars. Assess these areas to see if they are putting your loved one at risk.
In recognition of National Fall Awareness Day on September 22nd, we are sharing 6 of our best Fall Prevention Tips:
  • Remove any “trip hazards”. These include loose carpet or throw rugs, stacks of magazines or newspapers, and electric or extension cords. Uneven cracks in sidewalks are another common tripping hazard.
  • Install handrails by any steps inside or out. Make certain there are sturdy handrails and grab bars in bathrooms and next to the bed.
  • Create a non-slip surface next to the bathtub and in the kitchen.
  • Make sure there are “rest stops” – easily accessibly places to sit – along the traffic pattern your loved one follows most in their home. If they still drive and don’t have an attached garage, be certain there is someplace to rest on the route they take to and from the house. Also make sure that the path from outside in is well lit.
  • Visit the family doctor if your loved one seems to be unsteady on their feet.  Balance can be compromised by changes in vision or as a side effect of some medications.
  • Make sure there are clear pathways for your loved one to easily get through. Change the furniture layout if necessary. Function matters more in preventing falls than how pretty the room looks.

One final tip that might help is to have a professional assess your loved one’s home for safety. Many local physical or occupational therapy companies offer this service.

 

Are you a caregiver? Have you done a fall prevention assessment on your loved one’s home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

 

 

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