Falls can result in serious injured like hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause any older adult to become fearful or depressed. These are several factors that can cause a fall in an elderly person:
- Balance and gait – Loss of coordination, flexibility, and balance can make it easier to fall.
- Vision – With less light reaching the retina, the edges of your vision contrast causing tripping hazards and obstacles to become harder to see.
- Medications – Some medications can cause dizziness or dehydration that can lead to a fall.
- Environment – Homes may not include some safety precautions that could help prevent a fall.
Luckily, falls can be prevented. If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, help them reduce their risk of falling with these simple tips.
1. Have an open conversation about their health
Make sure that your loved ones are taking care of themselves. Are they remember to take their prescribed medications? Are they experiencing any side effects from their meds? Are they able to manage their daily tasks? Encourage them to speak freely about their capabilities and to be honest about what they may need help with.
2. Ask about their last eye checkup
A simple change in glasses can put your loved ones at risk for a fall. Biofocals can be problematic on stairs and so it’s important to be cautious. Make sure they have up-to-date prescriptions and they are using the glasses as their eye doctor advises.
3. Watch for signs
If you start to notice that they are holding on to walls, furniture or even other people when they are walking or if they are having difficulty getting up from a chair, these are signs that it might be time to get some assistance. Talk to a physical therapist about ways to help strengthen their muscles and improve their balance. The therapists might suggest a cane or walker to provide assistance.
4. Do a walk-through of their home
Simply walking through their home can help you identify ways to make the home safer. Ensure that there is enough lighting is sufficient, especially by stairs. Make sure there are two handrails on either side of the stairs and in the bathrooms as well. Double check that there is always a clear path for them to move about the home.
Here’s a brief video featuring Shari, one of our Falls Prevention specialists. In this video, she discusses treatment and relief tips for falls and imbalance. She also provides some info on how we treat patients for this condition here at OSI Physical Therapy!
How to Help Your Elderly Loved Ones Avoid Falls