Take Steps to Reduce the Risk of Falls
Have you ever worried about your loved one falling, or have they recently experienced a fall? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it happens to one of four older adults, age 65 or older, each year. Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in seniors, often resulting in a visit to the emergency room or a hospitalization.
Older adults may fall for a variety of reasons, and these falls can often be attributed to various risk factors – such as lower body weakness, difficulties with balance, or vision problems. In addition to the risks associated with physical impairments, there are also dangerous household environmental hazards that may contribute to falls.
Falls aren’t just something that come with age. In fact, there are several proven ways to reduce the risk of falling. First, you can create a safe living environment for your loved one by considering how furniture is placed, the lighting levels throughout the home, or even watching for poorly fitted clothing or footwear.
Take these easy steps to help reduce environmental hazards in your loved one’s home:
• Make sure footwear and clothing is properly fitted and is not loose or baggy
• Ensure any mobility aides, like canes or walkers, are properly fitted, comfortable and easy to use
• Increase ambient light levels in the home by replacing light bulbs with brighter alternatives, and consider adding lamps in dark areas of the home
• Remove floor clutter, install handrails throughout the home, and replace loose rugs with a non-slip alternative
Falls can also be prevented by improving strength, balance and flexibility through a regular exercise program.
Recent studies show that exercise can help reduce falls by up to 35 percent, and those who exercise are less likely to suffer from an injury after a fall.
For aging adults, a personalized exercise program should consider an individual’s specific risks and how to best address them through aerobic ability, strength, flexibility and balance. The first step to starting any exercise routine is to consult with a medical provider, who can administer a fall-risk assessment and work with you and your loved one to help determine what fitness regimen should be implemented to lessen the likelihood of falls.
Whether it’s through an exercise program or by simply making small improvements throughout the home, take action to reduce your loved one’s risk of falling and achieve a sense of relief for everyone.
We've developed a FREE resource guide to address common concerns that come with aging including fall prevention, memory loss, social isolation and nutrition.