Elderly Fall Prevention: Tips & Strategies to Stay Safe
Helping prevent slips and falls: tips and strategies to stay safe
Slips and falls are a leading cause of injury, especially amongst children and seniors. But while most children recover without lasting complications, older adults are significantly more likely to be hospitalized. People over the age of 75 experience the most serious consequences.
Fortunately, prevention is far from problematic. With a little effort and understanding, you can reduce the odds of accidents. Your loved one can increase the balance, strength, and coordination needed to prevent future accidents.
Aging and accidents
Older adults suffer falls more often because of changes that occur as part of the aging process. These make it more difficult to perceive and react to danger.
Poor eyesight: Vision is an essential component of the sensory motor system. As eyesight worsens, it throws off a person’s innate sense of balance. This makes it harder to remain oriented, judge distance, and gauge immediate surroundings. Depth perception is affected as well. This increases the likelihood of a misstep when walking downstairs, stepping over curbs, or reaching for high objects.
Neuropathy: Neuropathy has several causes, but its primary symptoms are numbness, weakness, and pain in the feet and other extremities. Consequently, people afflicted have a hard time knowing where their feet are or how their body is positioned in space.
Muscle loss: As people get older, they gradually get weaker, making it more difficult to stay upright or move effectively.
Loss of coordination: Reaction time decreases with age, which makes it harder for seniors to catch themselves when they stumble.
Medication: It is not uncommon for seniors to be on several medications at once. As a result, they can experience negative side effects, such as dizziness and lightheadedness, which increase their chance of falling.
Slip and fall prevention: the basics
With the right precautions, most falls are preventable if seniors remain aware of their environment and how they feel throughout the day.
Here are a few easy tips that almost anyone can follow to help minimize the risk of slip and fall injuries:
Adjust the home: Most falls occur at home, so any elderly fall prevention plan should start here. Look for potentially hazardous areas, such as the bathroom. Install grab bars by the toilet or in the shower, as well as shower benches. These provide balance, as well as alternatives to standing. stay balanced. Beds can also be tricky. However, bed rails or an adjustable bed will make it easier to get up without falling over. Installing ramps over stairs helps reduce the danger of tripping.
Remove clutter: Keep floors, hallways, and staircases clear. Seniors often get their feet caught on rugs, so be sure to remove them as well.
Segment activities: Exhaustion increases the risk of falling. By spacing everyday tasks out over the course of the day, and taking time to rest, seniors can minimize risks in and around the home.
Add assistance devices: A cane or walker can be very helpful for those who feel unsteady; lifts can also help make getting up and down flights of stairs safer and easier.
Eat well and stay hydrated: Poor diets and dehydration contribute to conditions that make people more prone to slips and falls. Staying hydrated and eating regular meals helps keep seniors stable and more energetic. However, drinking more water might also mean more trips to the bathroom. This is why it’s imperative to ensure that pathways in the home are clear and easily accessible at all times.
Manage medications: Certain medications may interfere with balance. To ensure optimal safety, an alternative or lower dosage may be necessary.
Beyond controlling the environment and nutrition, older adults also need to maintain their fitness. A few basic exercises performed each day can help them stabilize their core strength and maneuver safely.