Have you always worried about your senior loved one at home? Specifically, you want to make sure you or the caregiver looking after him know the ways in preventing falls for seniors. Understandably, you feel that way. Thousands of elderly individuals have been experiencing falls in the home every day.
The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), estimates that every year, “Between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people in the U.S. fall.” Such a fall can lead to hip fractures, lacerations, and internal bleeding. More so, it can result in a more extended hospital stay. However, the same agency estimates that a-thirds of falls are preventable.
Before you discover the things to do to prevent falls for seniors, you should know the common causes of these accidents.
What are the Common Causes of Falls for Seniors?
It is natural for an aging individual to be at a high risk of experiencing a fall. If you have a fear of falling, especially for your senior loved one, first, you should know the reasons why he or she is more likely to experience a fall. The most common include:
- Long-standing health conditions like Dementia, low or high blood pressure which typically causes dizziness, and heart disease
- Deteriorations like muscle weakness or poor vision
- Diseases that can impact balance like inflammation of the ears’ fragile or gender regulating parts
What are the Signs and Indications to Watch Out for?
Incidentally, chronic health conditions like those above can at times result in imbalance, fainting or temporary loss of consciousness, or sudden dizziness. More so, the said results are all contributors to a fall. You will also notice that regular changes to your senior loved one’s body as he ages makes falls possible, as well.
Muscle weakness or visual impairment may make it more difficult as well, for an older adult to stop a fall. Seniors may have stiff joints and weaker muscles too, and these can lead to falling, both major and minor. Additionally, they may lose some of the feelings in both their legs and feet that again, can lead to falling.
Older adults are slower to react too and may struggle concentrating in more than a single thing as they become older. Among the seniors, the most typical reasons for slipping or accidentally falling are as follows:
- Dim light
- Newly polished or wet floors like bathroom
- Carpets or rugs that are not well-secured
- Lessening of the ability to reach for the storage areas like cupboards
Another usual reason for falls, specifically among senior men, is a fall from a ladder while doing some maintenance work at home. Also, for those with osteoporosis, falls can be specifically dangerous are thee is a high risk of having a broken bone.
What are the Natural Factors for Senior Falls?
There are natural causes of falls for seniors. These are the things you cannot avoid, primarily that your loved one is aging. These intrinsic factors are as follows:
- Manner of Walking and Balance
- As a result of a disease such as a stroke, arthritic changes, neuromuscular disease, Parkinsonism, vestibular illness or neuropathy
- Problems with motor and visual reaction time
In relation to these factors, longer reaction time usually delays responses and their respective compensations to imbalances in standing or walking. Therefore, it increases the possibility of falls.
- Drugs or medicines such as Polypharmacy which is common in seniors
- Sedatives which significantly augments the danger of falling
- Medications for heart ailment that can contribute to falls
- Visual impairment, specifically glaucoma
- Cognitive problems, particularly Dementia
- Causes of cardiovascular disease
- Postprandial hypotension
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Carotid sinus syndrome
What are the External Factors for Elderly Falls?
If there are natural causes, indeed, there are external circumstances, too, that can increase the risk of fall. These are factors that are avoidable. Meaning, falls are not likely to happen to your senior loved ones if any or all of these factors are not present:
- Hanging straps attached with triangular handles in a Japanese-designed commuter train
- Handrails in a staircase
- Grab rails attached to a commuter train that caters primarily for seated passengers
- Poor lighting because of lamps or lights’ low luminance
- Stairs that are too steep or with insufficient handrails
- Doorways with low headroom of about less than two meters
- Low-friction surfaces and rugs
- Poorly-fitted footwear or clothing
- Lack of aids or equipment like cane or walker
In relation to these factors, it is essential to know that hanging straps and grab bars need to be sufficient or adequate, especially in critical parts of the home where the senior user may be unsafe or susceptible.
How are Senior Falls Treated?
Never take a senior fall for granted. Whether it’s just a minor or severe accident, it is always important to know the right treatment. More often than not, many people take their elderly loved ones to the emergency department for various diseases and conditions. Because of this, hospitals should guarantee to keep the seniors on the right track for a fast and smooth recovery.
Here are some of the things to do for treatments after your elderly loved one falls:
- First, stay calm. You wouldn’t want to see your parent or grandparent panicking too, after falling.
- Take a few deep breaths so you can relax. Relatively, let the senior stay still on the ground or floor for a couple of minutes.
- Figure out if your loved one is hurt before he gets up. Remember, getting up so fast or quickly can even make the injury worse.
- Have the elderly to carry along a mobile phone to make it easier for him to call you or any member of the family for assistance and emergency response.
- Take your loved one to an occupational therapist to help him recover fast.
How can Falls for Seniors be Prevented?
The best way to prevent elderly falls is to take care of your senior loved one’s general health. Indeed, by doing so, you can lower his chances of falling. Here are some preventive strategies you can try:
- Ensure that your loved one remains physically active by letting him join some exercise programs. He may also go through some muscle strength training and tai chi exercise.
- Have his eyes and ears regularly tested as minor changes in both hearing and sight can cause a fall.
- Discover the side effects of any medication the patient takes.
- Be sure he gets adequate sleep as being sleepy can make the elderly fall.
- Install grab bars at home, so the senior in your family has something safe to hold on to when standing up, walking, and moving around.
Undoubtedly, you can always prevent your elderly loved one from falling wherever he is. Simply remember the preventive tactics, and you can never go wrong. Also, you may consult disease control and prevention experts and groups to know what to do better should similar problems occur.
To guarantee the safety of your loved one day and night, hire a caregiver. Specifically, the compassionate caregivers at Innovative Homecare Solutions, Inc. can help you achieve peace of mind by providing proper assistance to help avoid senior fall.