Fall Prevention 101: A Guide for Seniors & Families

Author

ComForCare Home Care

For more information about the author, click to view their website: ComForCare Home Care

Posted on

Nov 27, 2023

Book/Edition

Colorado - Denver Metro

Millions of older people fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While younger people may not think much of a simple household trip, falls are much more serious than many realize. Their aftermath can drastically alter a person’s quality of life, putting their physical and mental health at risk. That’s why fall prevention is so critically important.

At ComForCare, our mission is to help older adults live at home safely and confidently for as long as possible. We work alongside families, providing not only expert care but also educational resources to support healthy relationships and healthy families. Let’s take a look at why fall prevention matters, how to recognize risk factors, and what you can do to prevent falls!

Why Fall Prevention Matters

While not every fall results in a serious injury, one in five does—and the consequences can be life-altering. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures, and they account for 3 million emergency department visits each year. And while it’s painful to think about, the CDC estimates that by 2030, falls could cause dozens of deaths per day.

Even if the fall itself doesn’t result in death, the complications can be devastating. Seniors may experience severely limited mobility and cognitive function, restricting their activities, leading to physical decline and even depression and social isolation. All of these outcomes are linked to a shorter lifespan.

Most Common Risk Factors for a Fall

  • Medications: Some medications or combinations of medications can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and delayed reaction times as side effects. 
  • Cognitive impairments: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can slow down reaction times or make it easy to become distracted and overlook a fall risk.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Many older adults don’t get enough protein or vitamin D in their diets, leading to muscle loss and weakness that increases the risk of falling.
  • Lower body weakness: Many health conditions and simply aging itself can lead to weakness in the lower body or difficulties with walking and balance. 
  • Health care issues: blood pressure that is too low or too high, vision impairments, and even podiatric issues can all contribute to falls.

What Can Seniors Do to Prevent Falls?

For optimized comfort and safety at your or your loved one’s home, use these steps to prevent falls!

Home Safety Interventions

Fall-proofing your home is one of the most important interventions you can make. To start, remove any throw rugs, floor clutter, or electrical cords that can be tripped over. Additional changes to consider include:

  • Fixing any broken or uneven steps & flooring
  • Moving furniture so loved ones using an assistive device like a cane or walker can easily navigate around it
  • Installing grab bars in bathrooms

For additional steps, download our fall risk reduction guide! To fully safeguard your loved one and account for their needs, you may also consider a personalized fall risk assessment. 

Exercises for Balance & Strength

In some cases, older adults may need the help of a physical therapist or occupational therapist to regain their strength and balance. But all seniors can benefit from exercises to reduce the risk of falls. Even simple exercises can help! 

One of the easiest leg-strengthening exercises is the calf raise. From a standing position, rise up on your toes, keeping your heels above the ground. Then, slowly return to your normal position. Try doing three sets of ten calf raises with one to three minutes of rest in between. Call in a friend or family member to help with balance!

Improve Awareness & Reduce the Fear

Fall risk awareness sits at the middle of a spectrum. On one hand, some people don’t realize that falls aren’t a normal part of aging and therefore don’t understand their risk factors. On the other, some people become afraid, reducing or restricting healthy activities out of a fear of falling. 

Fall risk management programs like Gaitway are designed to help older adults overcome those fears and minimize their risks. Gaitway helps people view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, and take manageable steps to reduce their fall risks at home.

Consider In-Home Care

If your loved one has one or more fall risk factors or has fallen in the past, it may be time to consider in-home care. ComForCare’s caregivers are trained in all aspects of fall prevention, performing safety assessments and screenings, recommending adjustments to the home environment, and so much more. 

Our caregivers understand senior nutrition and can prepare meals to support their vitamin, mineral, protein, and hydration goals. They can provide mobility assistance to boost confidence and make getting around easier. They can manage medications and coordinate with healthcare providers. And above all, they’re an additional resource for families supporting elderly loved ones, establishing open lines of communication about fall fears and concerns.

Schedule a Home Safety Evaluation with ComForCare

Being an active fall manager for a loved one is an important role. But it can be a lot to manage, and important things easily go unmanaged or unnoticed. If you’re ready for a partner to close the gaps and provide an expert perspective, choose ComForCare. 

We provide in-home care services to help seniors age comfortably and safely at home. We’ll match your family member with a caregiver ideally suited to their preferences, personality, and needs so you can rest assured that they’re receiving the best assistance possible.

Schedule a home safety evaluation with ComForCare today to protect your loved one and support their needs!

Contact ComForCare to Be Matched with Your Perfect Caregiver call today, 720-575-5576.


Other Articles You May Like

Personal Care Communities Raise Seniors Living Standards

As you age, your future care plans may become a topic of conversation among your family members. Most seniors scoff at the idea of senior living communities. Still, many places that feature personal care services have the potential to renew your sense of purpose and improve your quality of life.Here are five ways personal care communities can help you to live better:Daily Support. A little help goes a long way. With 24-hour personal care services, staff members are available to assist you with dressing, bathing, and grooming. Many senior living communities include light housekeeping, laundry, and maintenance in the rental fee, so youre free to conquer the day on your terms. Safety. A fall-related injury could be detrimental to your health; even a fear of falling can keep you homebound. Personal care communities are designed with mobility challenges in mind, offering fall prevention programs and emergency call systems.Food. Leave the food preparations to the Dining Director. Most communities provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an emphasis on nutrition without sacrificing taste. Special dietary needs are also accommodated.Engagement. Through social, recreational, and educational programs, personal care communities can nurture your physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Senior Commons at Powder Mill in York engages its residents with an array of activities and events designed to foster meaningful relationships. Activities include card games, on-site entertainment, guest speakers, shopping and scenic excursions, devotions and more.  Fitness. Personal care communities provide on-site fitness classes like circuit training and yoga to help maintain your strength, mobility, and balance, so you remain as independent as possible.At Senior Commons, residents are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve with a focus on preserving overall wellness through life-enhancing programs and services. To find out if a move to a senior living community is right for you, schedule a tour to meet the staff and residents.Editors Note: This article was contributed by Kelly Golden, marketing director at Senior Commons at Powder Mill, which provides Independent Living, Personal Care, and Memory Care on one campus.

Prevent Falls in Seniors with These Fun Exercises and Activities

No one wants to experience a fall, but for those over 55, a fall can lead to serious injury. Thats why learning how to prevent falls is so important for healthy aging.Heres a look at why falls happen, why preventing them is important, and some exercises and activities that can help older adults build balance and stability, while actually being fun and engaging.To help prevent falls, first understand why they happenHere are some common reasons why seniors fall:Changes in visionWeakening hip and leg musclesPoor posture or spinal degenerationStumbling due to the inability to lift your feetSlower reaction time to obstaclesDrug interactions that result in dizziness or poor balanceLightheadedness caused by low blood pressureWhy its so important to prevent fallsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. One out of every five falls causes an injury, such as a broken bone or head injury.Working on flexibility, stability, stretching and strength are vital when your goal is to prevent falls so you can live a long and healthy life. Many of the movements are simple, and many are fun activities as well. Always remember to take your time, do what feels comfortable, and breathe deeply. Here are just a few suggested exercises to prevent falls.Getting started: activities and exercises to help prevent fallsDanceDancing is a wonderful exercise for aerobic fitness, weight management, muscle and bone strength and endurance. In addition, moving through space in different directions and in different ways improves static and dynamic balance, spatial awareness, coordination, and reaction time. Dancing is also an excellent way to get all the benefits of socializing and interacting with others on a regular basis. And it can be a lot of fun!Tai ChiThe National Council on Aging reports that many studies have shown Tai Chi to be one of the most effective exercises to prevent falls. Tai Chi targets leg strength, flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes.According to the Tai Chi for Health Institute, with regular practice, Tai Chi improves balance by strengthening muscles and co-ordination; at the same time, it strengthens the mind, thereby improving calmness and confidence in not falling. Thus, both physically and mentally, Tai Chi is an extremely effective exercise when your goal is to prevent falls.YogaYoga is good for so many things that affect healthy aging: reducing stress, treating fatigue, lessening pain, and perhaps most importantly, increasing core strength and balance. This last one can reduce the risk of falling.You dont have to do complicated moves to the benefits. For example, the simple mountain pose can help you improve your posture and body awareness. Stand tall, weight distributed evenly on both feet, keep your knees slightly bent. Draw your shoulder blades together and down your back. Relax your arms and let your palms face forward. Breathe deeply and relax.WalkingNo special equipment required, just a good pair of walking shoes and a place to walk (indoors or outdoors). Add a friend or two and you have a fun way to get a workout that doubles as a balance booster!According to Harvard Health, walking strengthens the muscles in the lower body. It also is a great way to stretch muscles and thus improve your posture, which in turn, can improve your balance. Dont worry about distance, especially if you are beginning a walking program. And dont hesitate to use a cane or walker if you need one. As you feel stronger, add more minutes to your walks. Try to walk at least 150 minutes a week. Wear comfortable clothing, walk with confidence, and breathe deeply.GrapevineHeres an easy move that can help improve your balance. You might begin by being near a wall or a chair to help steady you or hold someones hand if needed. Simply step across in front of your right foot with your left leg. Continue moving across the room sideways, uncrossing the left leg. Repeat. When ready, just reverse direction. Wear smooth-bottomed shoes and concentrate on your movements.At Heritage Communities, we are here to help you live better and live longer.We do this by proactively implementing best-in-class lifestyle enrichments, senior-centric technologies, and the latest approaches to senior care. Our values define how we lead, care, and behave at every community we own. Let us tell you more.We redefine living better. You make it your own. Download our free guide, Family Decision Toolkit. Or contact us today 402-614-5222.

Assisted Living at Home: The Care Seniors Want and Family Caregivers Need

Assisted Living at Home offers a unique solution for family caregivers, combining professional elder care with the comfort and familiarity of the senior's own home.When You Cant Sleep as a Family Caregiver, Assisted Living at Home Could Give You the Rest You NeedThere are plenty of things that can rob us of our sleep. Stress over finances, relationship troubles, and even the loss of a close family member or friend can be significant factors. When you are a family caregiver for an aging loved one, such as a parent or grandparent, your worries can multiply, leading to many sleepless nights.The unfortunate aspect of family caregivers is that most who take on this incredibly important and grave responsibility dont always see themselves as such. They often view it as their duty or job due to their relationship with the senior.In truth, there are numerous types of elder care available, and you dont have to shoulder this burden alone. You dont have to become a family caregiver to the point where youre struggling to get even a few hours of sleep each night.Assisted Living at Home as a Respite Care OptionWhile many consider assisted living primarily as a long-term elder care solution, Assisted Living at Home offers a flexible alternative, especially for respite care. This innovative approach involves professional home care providers coming to the seniors house to take over caregiving duties. This service provides temporary relief to family caregivers from the daily challenges of caring for an elderly family member or close friend, all in the comfort of the seniors own home.Assisted Living at Home provides a unique blend of professional care in familiar surroundings, making it an ideal respite solution. Caregivers can take necessary breaks, knowing their loved ones continue to receive personalized, professional care in the most comfortable and familiar setting their home. This option is particularly beneficial for seniors who thrive best in their own environment and for families seeking a balance between professional care and maintaining the normalcy of home life.Respite Care at Assisted Living FacilitiesRespite care at assisted living facilities offers a short-term solution for family caregivers needing a break. Depending on the facility, options can vary. Some facilities may allow seniors to stay for a week or two at a time, providing a chance for family caregivers to recharge. Other facilities might offer midrange options, such as a month or two for the senior when family caregivers or support systems are away on vacation, business, or dealing with other critical matters.Finding Respite Care OptionsWhen feeling run down and worn out as a family caregiver, reaching out to local quality assisted living facilities to inquire about their respite care options is a practical step. Care navigation services can also assist in finding available options near you.Knowing that your loved one is in good hands, surrounded by experienced staff members, and safe can provide the peace of mind you need to relax, unwind, and sleep well. Just a few nights of quality rest can be all you need to wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle lifes next challenges. If you or an aging loved one are considering Assisted Living at Home in Broomfield, CO please contact the caring staff at Talem Home Care & Placement Services today. Call (720) 789-8529

Local Services By This Author

ComForCare Home Care

Home Health 1101 West Mineral Avenue, Littleton, Colorado, 80120

ComForCare is a leading private-pay home health provider in the Denver area, serving families for over 10 years. We are committed to providing excellent service to our clients through caring staff. Whether you just need a 2 hour shift one day a week (most commonly used as a shower shift) or 24/7 fully assisted care, we can provide quality caregivers to assist you. Our clients have 24/7 access to our office staff. We don't rest until our clients are thrilled with the individual who comes to their home, and our clients' families have peace of mind that their loved-one is well taken care of. We accept private pay, most Long Term Care Insurances, and are VA approved. 

ComForCare Home Care - Denver South

Non-Medical 1101 West Mineral Avenue, Littleton, Colorado, 80120

ComForCare is a leading private-pay home health provider in the Denver area, serving families for over 10 years. We are committed to providing excellent service to our clients through caring staff. Whether you just need a 2 hour shift one day a week (most commonly used as a shower shift) or 24/7 fully assisted care, we can provide quality caregivers to assist you. Our clients have 24/7 access to our office staff. We don't rest until our clients are thrilled with the individual who comes to their home, and our clients' families have peace of mind that their loved-one is well taken care of. We accept private pay, most Long Term Care Insurances, and are VA approved.