Falls among senior citizens are all too common and may have serious outcomes. Taking precautionary measures is crucial, such as examining the house for fall risks like area rugs along with other trip and fall hazards, inadequate lighting, and a lack of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there’s a new approach being suggested now: making a fall plan of care, which, when implemented properly, has been demonstrated to reduce fall-related hospital visits by up to 40%.
So while we certainly do not want to plan for a senior loved one to fall, we can be better equipped by helping the person take the following steps:
- Stay aware – Avoid letting your mind wander and instead keep your full concentration on your surroundings.
- Check vision – Frequent eye tests and regularly wearing eyeglasses if needed can ensure tripping risks are noticed and bypassed.
- Practice stability – Exercises as straightforward as lifting one foot off the ground and remaining balanced on the other foot for 30 seconds will help.
If a fall does occur, knowing how to fall more safely can minimize the possibility of injury. In particular:
- Prevent head injuries by intentionally turning your face away from the fall, or tucking your chin to your chest if falling backward.
- Bend the knees and elbows to avoid the stiffness which can lead to a break to the elbow or wrist when attempting to catch your fall.
- Roll with the fall, which distributes the impact of the fall over an increased portion of the body instead of concentrating it on a single location.
- Attempt to land on fatty tissue, such as on your thighs or bottom, instead of on more bony surfaces such as hips, knees, and elbows.
Using the following proactive steps can go a long way towards avoiding a fall:
- Be sure that all walking areas both outside and inside of the house are free from clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords.
- Keep floors, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, dry and clean.
- Put up grab bars around the tub and toilet.
- Make sure handrails are in place and secure alongside all stairwells.
- Remove and replace any worn out carpets and remove all loose rugs.
At Generations at Home in St. Petersburg, FL, our caregiving team is trained in making your home environment as safe from falls as possible, and we are knowledgeable in providing ambulation assistance and oversight when necessary to help make sure fall risk is decreased. We’re also on hand to take part in physician-sanctioned exercise programs to increase balance and flexibility, resulting in overall improved overall health. Call us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home assessment to discover more ways we can help!