Focus on the Individual to Avert Elderly Falls

prevent elderly falls

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 Outdated eyeglass prescriptions may cause blurred vision, which can contribute to falling.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.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

5 Ways to Prevent Falls in the Elderly

preventing falls in the elderly

There are few things scarier for the elderly than a fall. A fall can result in an array of problems and pain — or worse. So what can you do to prevent falls in an elderly home? Here are some tips that can help.

1. Prepare the Home

Elderproofing your home is critically important. There is nothing that can substitute for making sure the elderly person in the home is not in danger of slipping, falling, or otherwise hurting his or herself. If you need a consultation to help you assess your home, David York Agency has full elderproofing services by a certified specialist. Here is a handy tip sheet.

2. Regular Exercise

Exercise can help an elderly person maintain balance and strength. This has a two-fold benefit in that good balance control will prevent falls while increased strength can help prevent or lessen injuries.

3. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be prescribed by the elderly person’s doctor. This can further increase balance and strength. Talk to their doctor about getting a referral.

4. Standing and Sitting

Standing and sitting are things we don’t think much about, but the elderly can have a very hard time with these everyday tasks. Help them remember to do so slowly and consciously to avoid dizziness and balance issues that can result in a fall.

5. Limit Alcohol

Even if the doctor allows it in moderation, alcohol increases dizziness and should be limited in the case of an elderly person at risk of falling.

If you have an elderly loved one living at home, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of falls. Implementing the above safety tips will help keep your loved one from being injured. For additional information on preventing senior falls, look at our handout and our resource page, or contact us to learn more about elder care.

At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that being at high risk for falls can bring, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

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 they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Preventing Falls in an Elderly Home: Review

preventing elderly fallsAccording to the CDC, one in three seniors experiences a fall. Of those that fall, 20 percent have a serious injury, such as a broken bone or head trauma. Therefore, preventing falls in seniors is extremely important. Although this is a topic we have discussed in the past, it is important enough to review again, as it affects so many people. Consider the following ways to make the home of your senior loved one safe.

Stairways

Stairways are dangerous because a fall can easily cause serious injury. Implement these tips to make the stairway safe.

  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs. Most stairways only have handrails on one side.
  • Be sure the handrails are sturdy. Tighten down any that are wobbly.
  • Clear the stairway of all clutter. No items should be stored on the stairs.
  • Check that the lighting is adequate, so the stairs can be seen when it is dark outside.
  • Take the above steps for all stairways, including those outside that are used to enter the house.

Bathrooms

Falls in a bathroom are so dangerous because of all the hard surfaces. The tile floors and fixtures have no give and the edges of the sink and tub can cause injury. A few changes will make the bathroom much safer.

  • Install a night light for nighttime trips to the bathroom.
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and tub.
  • Ensure the toilet seat is at the right height. Consider buying an elevated seat if the existing seat is too low.
  • Remove trip hazards such as loose carpets, and install non-skid mats.

Living Area

A dark, cluttered home is a trip hazard. Consider the following tips to reduce the risk in the living area.

  • Remove any loose carpeting.
  • If lighting is not adequate, install new lighting. It is difficult to avoid tripping on items you cannot see. Bright light is beneficial.
  • Make sure wires do not run along walkways. Relocate wires to the edges of the room and tack them along the walls.
  • Remove clutter from rooms and walkways. If you must, put items in storage. Clear paths are critical.

Learning More

If you have an elderly loved one living at home, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of falls. Implementing the above safety tips will help keep your loved one from being injured. For additional information on preventing senior falls, check out our handout and our resource page.

David York Agency can help you elder-proof your home. For more information about David York Agency’s services and their qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.”

Ensuring Bathroom Safety

Of the falls that occur within the home, approximately one-half of these occur in the bathroom.  This makes sense when considering that the environment is, by necessity, comprised of hard surfaces which are often wet or damp.  With the elderly, factor in less-than-perfect balance or failing eyesight, and a misstep in this room can spell disaster. 

480738141There are many bathroom safety products that are designed for ease of transfer in and out your shower or tub. Raised toilet seats, toilet safety frames, and non-slip suction mats or rubber silicone appliqués in the tub can help prevent falls.

In addition to bathroom safety products, a home health aide can assist with bathroom safety.  A home health aide can assist an elderly person or someone recovering from surgery or illness with access to and from the bathroom.  A personal care aide can help with bathing, drying off, dressing, and grooming.  Having another person to help with balance and ensure that a wet surface is wiped dry can ensure bathroom safety.

At David York Agency, we understand that caregiving is a process that demands compassion, caring, patience & expertise.  Our home health aides are up-to-date with the latest caregiver techniques and are ready and available whenever you decide to begin service. If you would like more information about home health aides, please contact us at 718.376.7755 or www.davidyorkagency.com and visit our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages.