Falling poses a serious risk to the elderly. According to an article published by the CDC, over one-quarter of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year, making falling the number one cause of injury, both fatal and non-fatal, in this age group.
Falling not only poses a physical threat but also threatens one’s independence, self-confidence, and socialization. The elderly person’s mental and physical welfare, therefore, depends on preventing a fall to begin with.
While elderproofing the home is a necessary step toward fall prevention, focusing on the individual may provide them with benefits far beyond that.
Some of the areas to focus on include:
- Regular Exercise: Techniques such as yoga and tai chi focus on balance directly, while weight-bearing exercises, especially for the lower body, may prevent bone loss and help maintain muscle mass.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy may be beneficial to recover properly from a previous injury, surgery, or chronic condition.
- Check Vision and Hearing: Keep up on checkups for vision and hearing. Outdated eyeglass prescriptions may cause blurred vision, which can contribute to falling. Additionally, undiagnosed auditory deficits can directly affect your balance.
- Dizziness: Even seemingly minor dizziness may indicate something much more significant, such as blood sugar issues, poor circulation, or low blood pressure.
- Medications: Be sure to understand each medication taken, paying particular attention to those that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
- Stand Up Slowly: Getting up slowly reduces the likelihood of lightheadedness due to blood pressure drops. In addition, gentle movements may decrease the risk of injury to older muscles and joints.
- Footwear: Rubber soled shoes with no or a very low heel are best to prevent slipping. Be certain that the shoes fit properly. Shoes that leave room for swelling feet may be loose, which can contribute to the risk of falling.
- Alcohol: Limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Not only can alcohol interact with other medications taken, but alcohol itself has a disorienting effect on the individual.
- Sleep: Getting the proper amount of sleep may reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and improve pain tolerance.
Focus on the Individual Elderly Person
A full assessment of each individual with respect to their risk factors for a fall will go a long way toward keeping them safe from a fall. Fall prevention within the elderly community can be enhanced by having a home healthcare aide present, either full-time or part-time, to ensure that your elderly loved one has someone nearby to assist them if they do experience a fall.
At David York Agency, we are committed to providing the personalized and dedicated care that people need as they age. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.