Prevention of falls in the elderly

Prevention of falls in the elderly is a major concern when caring for the elderly. How do I keep my loved one from falling?

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Preventing falls from occuring in the elderly can be a real challenge. There are so many reasons an elderly adult can fall. As we get older, wer have physical changes and health conditions that may cause us to fall no matter how careful we are. Medications can also be a reason for the elderly falling. In fact, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults.

Ways to help the possibility of falling:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor to talk with him about medications that you are taking that could cause you to fall. Make a list of your medications and take them with you when you visit your doctor. Your doctor can review your medications and give you the side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with prevention of falls your doctor may want to wean you off medications like anti-depressants, or sedatives if you take these.
  • Another question your doctor may ask is if you have fallen before . Write down the day, and time of your fall. Also if you know why you fell this might be a good indication of how you can prevent that fall from happening again. Also write down if you have almost fallen down but prevented the actual fall from occuring. Your doctor may be able to give you ways to prevent those falls from occuring again.
  • Could your health conditions cause you to fall . Certain eye and ear disorders can cause you to fall. Your doctor may want to know how comfortable you are when you walkfor example: do you feel dizzy or off balance. Do you have joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk. Your doctor may evaluate your gait ( how you walk) or your muscle strength.

Keep your body moving:

Physical activity can go a long way in prevention of falls. If your doctor thinks it is ok then go for walks, do some activities like swimming,yoga or gentle exercise that offers gentle, slow and graceful dance-like movements. Water exercises are a great way to keep moving. If you avoid exercise because you are afraid you will fall then tell your doctor. They may want you to start out with a physical therapist until you gain some strength and balance. The physical therapist can create an exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexability, muscle strength and gait.

Wear sensible shoes when you walk:

Consider changing your footwear to help with fall prevention. High heels, flip flops, slippers and shoe that do not fit well can also be a cause of falls. Walking in your sock feet or hose without shoes on can also cause you to fall.

  • Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes. This can help make sure the shoes are a perfect fit for your feet. Foot size changes often as you get older.
  • Buy properly fitting shoe with non-skid bottoms.
  • Avoid shoes that have extra thick soles
  • Choose lace up shoes instead of slip on shoes. This helps keep the shoes fitting corrrectly on your feet. If you have trouble tying your shoes buy shoes with fabric fasteners.
  • If you are a women who can not find wide enought shoes try a man's shoe on.

Remove hazards in your home that could cause you to fall:

Remove items in your home that could cause you to fall like boxes, newspapers, electrical cords, and phone cords from the hallways.

Move coffee tables, magazine racks, and plants stands that are in high traffic areas.

Secure loose rugs by either removing them or by securing them with double sided tape. If you insist on having rugs get the non-skid backing on the rugs.

Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.

Store clothing, dishes, food and other items you need on a daily bases within easy reach.

Clean up spills immediately when they happen.

Do not use wax on your floors.

Light up your living space:

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom or places you may go during the night.

Make a clear path to light switches. You may want to consider using the face plates on the light switches that glow in the dark so you can see where the light switch is.

Store flash lights in a easy accessible area in case of a power outage.

Use assistive devices when needed

Your doctor or physical therapist might suggest you use a cane or walker to help keep you steady on your feet. Other assistive devices can also help you:

Hand rails for stairs both inside and outside your home.

Nonslip treads on bare-wood steps.

A raised toilet seat or ones with arm rests.

Grab bars for the shower or tub. Also a grab bar close to your toilet.

A sturdy plastic seat for your shower if you do not have a seat in the shower. Plus a hand held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down.

Again safety in the bathroom, or home is extremely necessary for prevention of falls in the elderly. Keep your environment as safe as possible to help prevent falls in the elderly with injury.

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Posted in Senior Health Post Date 05/23/2018


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