Why is Falling Serious for Seniors?Did you know that older adults often fear falling, even if they havent fallen in the past? This makes sense, because falling, even from something as simple as tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor can result in broken bones. For an older person, a broken bone is very serious, so for seniors, fall prevention is crucial. A fall can sometimes be the start of serious health problems or lead to long-term disability. More than one in four people over age 65 fall each year(Opens in a new window), and falling causes 90 percent of hip fractures. The risk of falling and breaking a bone increases with age, but there are proactive measures you can take to help your older loved ones reduce their risk of falling and increase their longevity. The first step is to identify fall risk factors with your loved ones, in order to take precautionary measures.Five Top Causes of FallsBy knowing the top causes of falls(Opens in a new window) in elderly people, you can take steps to protect your older loved ones.1. Impaired VisionOlder people often have vision problems like cataracts and glaucoma, which alter depth perception and visual acuity as well as limit their peripheral vision, making them more susceptible to glare. These issues can make it more difficult to navigate the home safely and anticipate or notice hazards in time to prevent a fall. Even wearing bifocal or varifocal lenses can affect depth perception and make it hard to go down stairs.2. Home HazardsIt is easy to overlook fall hazards in the home(Opens in a new window), but being proactive about removing them can greatly reduce the risk of falls. Home hazards include:Steps or stairways that are poorly lit or have loose/unsecure handrails or, worse, no handrailsPoorly lit hallways and walkwaysClutter blocking pathwaysPets that may get underfootLoose wires, rugs, or other objects that can cause trippingBathroom or kitchen tile without non-slip treadShowers and bathtubs without non-slip basins, or missing grab barsImportant items not kept within easy reaching distance3. MedicationCertain medications can cause side effects like dizziness, light-headedness, unsteadiness, drowsiness, blurred or double vision, and reduced mental alertness. Some medications can affect balance and cause a drop in blood pressure while standing. Taking four or more medicines, often referred to as polypharmacy, can increase the risk of falling(Opens in a new window), especially with those that are considered high risk medications. Opiates, diuretics, anti-depressants, sedatives, blood pressure medication and anticonvulsants are some examples of high-risk medications that pose a higher risk for falls among the elderly. It is important to talk to your doctor and be aware of any potential side effects.4. Weakness and Poor BalanceAs people age, they lose muscle mass. This can cause problems with balance and gait. To reduce muscle loss, older people should remain active and try balance and strength training exercises like yoga, Pilates and tai chi.5. Chronic ConditionsCertain conditions, like Parkinsons, hearing problems, diabetes, heart disease or issues with the thyroid, nerves, blood vessels or feet, can increase fall risk factors. Conditions like diabetes can cause neuropathy, which involves numbness, tingling, weakness, or burning in the feet, and this can make it difficult to walk without stumbling. Heart disease can also make people unsteady on their feet. Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disease that causes motor symptom that include stiffness, tremor, impaired balance, shuffling gait, and changes to the center of gravity. Incontinence, which causes people to rush to the bathroom, can also increase the risk of falling(Opens in a new window).Preparing Your Home for Fall Prevention: How to Prevent FallsFall prevention at home for seniors is important for keeping your loved ones safe. Here are 10 tips to prevent falls at home(Opens in a new window).Check stairs and steps to make sure none are broken or uneven and all have sturdy handrails on either side. Install anti-slip stair treads for slippery hardwood stairs.Make sure there is adequate lighting, especially around entryways, in hallways and at the top and bottom of stairs.Install grab bars in the bathroom, by the toilet and in showers and tubs.Remove any throw rugs to prevent them from tripping.Keep pathways and stairways free from clutter.Consider adding strips of bright or contrasting colors in places you have trouble seeing, like the stairs or grab bars, handrails or any uneven surfaces.Keep commonly used items within easy reach to avoid the use of step stools and chairs.Install a bed rail to provide support getting in and out of bed.Clean spills immediately to reduce the risk of slipping.Fall-proof your bathroom with non-slip rubber grips in the shower or tub, a shower chair, hand-held shower head or even a walk-in bathtub.The Warning Signs and Risk Factors of FallingThe more risk factors(Opens in a new window) a person has, the greater the risk of falling. Pay attention to your older loved ones, looking for signs of the following risk factors,, and consider a risk assessment(Opens in a new window) if you are concerned about any of the following:Muscle weaknessWorsening eyesightDeclining hearingUneven gait or poor balancePain in hips, knees, ankles or feet, including injuries or stiffnessDependence on supports for walking, getting up or sitting downChronic physical ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, arthritis incontinence, or ParkinsonsCognitive impairment or declineNew prescription medications with side effects that can increase the risk of fallingOveruse of alcohol or abuse of narcoticsBlackouts or faintingChanges in sleeping habitsHigh Quality Care for Older AdultsBrightStar Care takes a comprehensive approach to fall prevention, pairing our unmatched clinical expertise with educational resources to help and empower families. Our agencies can perform a home safety evaluation, assessing possible risks and making recommendations regarding accessibility modifications. Then, at every reassessment, an RN will do a further safety check, educating the client and family on fall risks and ways to reduce them.Additionally, by contracting for home care with us, you will be ensuring that someone ist there to help with things that could be hazardous, like reaching high shelves, bathing, or climbing stairs. In some cases, physical therapy may be helpful in building strength to prevent falls. When you partner with BrightStar, you gain the assistance of a caring, compassionate team, dedicated to keeping your loved one safe and healthy.Find a BrightStar CareLocation Near YouLooking forin-home care servicesorassisted livingfor your loved one or areliable medical staffing partnerfor your organization? Our experienced local care team members are ready to help.Find a locationnear you,contact usonline, or call 866.618.7827 to speak with a local care expert and learn more about how BrightStar Care offers A Higher Standard.
Often the hardest part of doing something new is getting started, and that's especially true about exercise. This article from AARP makes it easy to get started with the most important exercise to help you age healthy: squats. Five or ten squats are easy to do while you wait for the coffee to brew or the microwave to finish heating.Even when we're healthy we sometimes need a little extra help with the house or errands. Visit our website at www.rosehillathome.com to learn more about how Rose Hill Stay-at-Home Services can help you or a loved one stay in independent and at home.
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 persons quality of life, putting their physical and mental health at risk. Thats 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. Lets take a look at why fall prevention matters, how to recognize risk factors, and what you can do to prevent falls!Why Fall Prevention MattersWhile not every fall results in a serious injury, one in five doesand 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 its painful to think about, the CDC estimates that by 2030, falls could cause dozens of deaths per day.Even if the fall itself doesnt 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 FallMedications: Some medications or combinations of medications can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and delayed reaction times as side effects. Cognitive impairments: Alzheimers 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 dont 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 ones home, use these steps to prevent falls!Home Safety InterventionsFall-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 & flooringMoving furniture so loved ones using an assistive device like a cane or walker can easily navigate around itInstalling grab bars in bathroomsFor 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 & StrengthIn 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 FearFall risk awareness sits at the middle of a spectrum. On one hand, some people dont realize that falls arent a normal part of aging and therefore dont 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 CareIf 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. ComForCares 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, theyre 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 ComForCareBeing 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 youre 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. Well match your family member with a caregiver ideally suited to their preferences, personality, and needs so you can rest assured that theyre 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.