It’s an all too familiar story. An elderly person falls…perhaps over a curb in a parking lot. Perhaps on a throw rug in his living room. Perhaps getting in and out of the shower. The worst happens…a broken hip followed by a prolonged and complicated stay in a hospital or rehab facility and a long and difficult road back to “normal.” If there is such a thing.
Falls among the elderly are so common they have become almost cliché. According to the CDC, 30 million older adults fall every year, and of those, 30,000 result in deaths. Sadly, or perhaps hopefully, many of these falls are preventable.
The simplest, yet often most overlooked, first step to falls prevention is a conversation with your doctor. Be sure that any medications you are taking do not have the unintended consequences of gait disturbances or dizziness when taken alone or in combination with other drugs. Have your vision and hearing screened regularly so that environmental cues are not missed.
Next, examine your home environment. Remove clutter where ever possible, but particularly in thoroughfares and on stairs or uneven surfaces. Move commonly used items to within easy reach to eliminate the need for climbing or step stools. Remove small throw rugs or use double sided tape to secure them to prevent slipping. Adding handrails or non-skid materials anywhere that can provide extra support and stability, such as in the shower, is advisable.
Lastly, though it can seem daunting as we age, engaging in regular exercise, in any form, is an important part of falls prevention. Maintaining strength and balance improves overall health and allows you to make minor corrections when you lose your footing.
In short, while falls seem like a normal part of aging, they don’t have to be. Making small changes to your home and environment, maintaining your strength, and having open communication with your doctor all goes a long way towards preventing what many see as the inevitable.
Finally, a caregiver referred by La Nurse can also help minimize the risk of falls by assisting with showering, dressing, transferring, and light housekeeping. Call us today! 561-279-9885.