The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of adults over the age of 65 fall every year. They also say that once an older adult has fallen, they are at double the risk of falling again. Falling is a serious issue for seniors because it can result in debilitating injuries or even death. Even if a person is not injured, a fall can make them afraid of falling again, so they may become less active. If you’re concerned about your aging parent falling, knowing what puts them at risk and how home care can help prevent falling could keep your parent safer.
Fall Risk Factors
There are many things that can influence the likelihood of an older adult falling. These are called risk factors. Among them are:
- Weakness in the lower half of the body.
- Not getting enough vitamin D.
- Trouble with balance and gait.
- Certain medications that may affect balance.
- Difficulty seeing.
- Pain in the feet.
- Ill-fitting shoes.
- Hazards in the home, including broken steps, lack of handrails, clutter, etc.
Preventing Your Parent from Falling
As you think about what steps you can take to lessen the chances of your parent falling, consider which risk factors they are affected by. Then, determine which factors you can change. Here are some suggestions for reducing your parent’s fall risk:
Exercise: Encourage your parent to participate in exercises that will improve their lower body strength and that also work on balance. While there are many forms of exercise that can help, many experts, including the CDC, say that Tai Chi is an excellent option for seniors who hope to prevent falls. It’s a good idea for your parent to talk to their doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Eye Exam: If your parent has not had their eyes examine lately, schedule an appointment. Certain kinds of eyewear, like tint changing glasses or bifocals, can affect an older adult’s ability to judge their steps and may cause tripping. Talk to the eye doctor about how they can help with fall risk.
Remove Clutter: Reduce clutter in your parent’s home. Clear walkways of furniture that may cause tripping. Put away or get rid of stacks of newspapers or magazines. Remove or secure loose rugs. Clean items off staircases.
Encourage Proper Footwear: Talk to your parent about their shoes. Shoes should fit well, but not be too tight. They should not slip off the heel and should have soles that provide good traction. Shoes with high heels and flip flops are not safe for many seniors.
Changes to the Home: Walk through your parent’s home and look for things that could cause them to trip or stumble, such as uneven or broken stairs or loose flooring. Make the appropriate repairs. Add handrails to both sides of all stairways. Install grab bars in the bathroom and next to the bed. Increase the lighting in rooms where it is dark.
Talk to the Doctor: If your parent has balance problems or pain that makes it difficult to walk, talk to the doctor about what can be done to help them. Ask if they would benefit from an assistive device, such as a cane or walker. Also, talk to the doctor about all medications your parent is taking and see if there are alternatives available for those that may cause balance problems.
How Homecare Can Help
If your parent is at risk for fall or fears that they may fall, having a homecare provider can make a big difference for them. Some of the ways a homecare provider can keep your parent safe from falls are:
De-Cluttering: Homecare providers can help to keep the house clean and free from clutter. They can put away items left on steps, remove or secure rugs, and alert family members if they notice potential hazards, such as loose tile or a broken step.
Physical Activity: A homecare provider can take walks with your parent to improve their leg strength. Since the homecare provider can offer them a steadying arm to lean on, they are less likely to fall.
Transportation: If your parent needs someone to drive them to an eye exam or to see the doctor about medications or balance problems, a homecare provider can drive them. Homecare providers can also drive your parent to group exercise classes.
Peace of Mind: Having a homecare provider present can ease your parent’s worries about a potential fall so that they can remain more active and continue to enjoy their usual activities.
Falls cause approximately 800,000 hospitalizations each year. You can help your parent to avoid being among that statistic by taking steps to reduce their falls risks. Hiring a homecare provider can make them less likely to fall. But, should they fall, it’s good to know that someone will be checking on your parent regularly and be able to get them the assistance they need.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare Services in Peoria AZ, please contact the caring staff at Devoted Guardians today. Affordable In-Home Care in the Phoenix Metro Area. Call Today: (800) 699-4781 or (480) 999-3012.
Aaron spent 5 years working for Intel Corporation in Chandler, Arizona right out of college until he ventured off on his own. Aaron has owned and operated successful small businesses for the past 10 years.
Aaron is currently the CEO and owner of Devoted Guardians a Non-Medical In Homecare Agency covering the entire Phoenix valley. Aaron has been CEO since 2012 and running businesses since 2005.