We are often so consumed with the symptoms and treatments of the diseases endemic to the elderly that we fail to see how a simple fall can have catastrophic effects. These falls can lead to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. To the elderly, commonplace activities like walking, shopping and socializing become dreaded events. Their physical realities combined with their fears mean that the elderly come to view themselves as fragile which exacerbates their isolation and depression, all too common conditions among this group.
Ten things you can do to prevent falls include (The National Institute on Aging has a handy tip sheet):
- Regular exercise, especially those that work on balance like yoga and tai chi, can help steady the elderly adult. Weight-bearing exercises that slow bone loss and lower-body strengthening exercises are especially helpful.
- Physical therapy may be useful for improving balance and walking confidence. Your doctor or health care provider may be able to make that referral.
- Stand up slowly from a seated or lying position.
- Wear rubber soled shoes to avoid slipping.
- Make regular eye and hearing check-ups to ensure they are fitted with glasses with the optimal prescription for clear vision. Interestingly, even wearing bifocals while walking or on steps may blur the vision enough to cause falls. Proper hearing can ensure no cues are missed.
- Elder proofing a home taking elderly needs and deficits into account much as we do for babies is often neglected. (See article below.)
- Regular dizziness may indicate an underlying medical condition with respect to blood pressure, circulation, or sensory issues which should be checked out by a physician.
- Have the doctor or pharmacist review all medications to identify those most likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness.
- Limit the amount of alcohol consumed.
- Get enough sleep.
Source: National Institute on Aging: Go4Life: Preventing Falls
David York Home Healthcare Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors. We would be happy to discuss your case with you. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.