Did you know that falls are a leading cause of injury for seniors? It is estimated that nearly one-third of seniors will fall down one or more times in a year without efforts to prevent them. It’s important to work with your loved one to prevent falls so they can stay happy and healthy.
Fall Prevention is Vital to Seniors’ Health
Falls don’t just happen during exercise or other highly active times. In fact, most falls happen to seniors in their own homes while they’re taking part in daily activities like stepping out of the shower, walking up stairs, or doing other things around the house.
For younger people, a fall is easy to bounce back from and usually doesn’t result in any significant injuries. But for seniors, a fall can cause major injuries, including hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. However, even falls that don’t cause severe injuries can have a huge impact on the lives of seniors. A fall can result in a loss of confidence and even make your loved one fearful of being alone or staying active.
Before we take a look at how we can prevent falls, it’s important to take a look at the most common factors that cause falls.
- Balance: It’s common for people to experience a loss of balance and coordination as they age. This gets worse if you become inactive.
- Changes in vision: As we get older, it’s common to develop issues with our eyesight. Poor vision can make it harder to see obstacles or other potential hazards that you could trip over.
- Medication interactions: If your loved one takes several medications, it’s possible that they could experience dizziness or other adverse reactions that could cause a loss of balance or a fall.
- Chronic health conditions: Many older adults suffer from health conditions like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Conditions like these can increase the risk of falls due to weakness, inactivity, depression, or other factors.
How to Prevent Falls
When you take the time to work with your loved ones, you can do a lot to prevent falls. Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure they stay safe and healthy.
1. Make some improvements around their home
As we age, many things around the house can turn into hazards. Here are a few things you can do to make their home a safer space: rearrange the furniture to make it easier to navigate around the room, secure rugs down, add in railings for additional support, or install grab bars in the shower/tub or near the toilet.
2. Work on their balance
Maintaining good balance and strength is important if you want to prevent falls. If you notice that your loved one seems to have balance issues, encourage them to work with a physical therapist or trainer. These experts can provide them with simple exercises to improve their coordination and get their confidence back. They may also require equipment like a cane or walker to keep them steady on their feet.
3. Get their eyes checked
Since vision problems can often be the cause of falls, this is a great first step to take. They may need glasses if they don’t already wear them, or they may need a stronger prescription in their current glasses. Regular checkups are also important to maintain overall health since other health issues can be diagnosed through eye exams.
4. Talk to their doctors about their medications
If your loved one experiences sudden balance issues, it could be the result of medication interactions. Make sure their doctor knows about any dizziness or balance issues right away, so they can make any adjustments as needed.
How Bria Communities Protects Residents From Falls
At Bria Communities, we take great care to ensure our residents are safe from falls. Each of our communities has ‘Functional Fitness’ classes offered by our recreation teams during the week. These classes are specifically designed to help residents keep and build strength for daily activities and guard against falls and other injuries.
This spring residents at The Waterford and The Wexford had the opportunity to participate in a unique initiative called ‘Seniors Can Move’ that introduced them to the gymnastics basics of agility, balance, and coordination on a spring floor at the Delta Gymnastics Society. One of the key objectives of this initiative was to improve core strength and teach seniors how to ‘fall well’ when it does happen.
In addition to these classes, each residence is designed to make it easy to get around. The hallways feature sturdy railings to assist with balance, while the bathrooms have bars near the toilets and showers to make it easier to get up. Of course, staff members are always close by, should residents need them. We’re always there to provide our residents with the level of support they need.