November 12, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

caregiver-with-senior-using-walker-outside

Falls among the elderly are all too common and can have dire consequences. Taking preventative measures is key, such as assessing the home for fall risks like throw rugs and other tripping hazards, insufficient lighting, and a lack of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there’s another tactic being recommended now: creating a fall plan of care, which, when implemented properly, is being shown to reduce fall-related hospital visits by as much as 40%.

So while we certainly don’t want to plan for a senior loved one to fall, we can be better prepared by helping the person take the following steps:

  • Stay alert – avoid letting your mind wander and instead keep your full focus on your surroundings.
  • Check eyesight – getting regular eye exams and always wearing glasses if needed can ensure tripping hazards are noticed and avoided.
  • Practice balance – exercises as simple as lifting one foot off the ground and staying balanced on the other foot for up to 30 seconds can help.

If a fall does occur, knowing how to fall more safely can minimize the risk of injury. In particular:

  • Avoid head injuries by purposely turning your face away from the fall, or tucking your chin to your chest if falling backwards.
  • Bend the elbows and knees to prevent the rigidity that can result in a break to the wrist or elbow when trying to catch your fall.
  • Roll with the fall, which spreads the impact of the fall over a larger portion of the body rather than concentrating it on one area.
  • Try to land on fatty tissue, such as on the thighs or bottom, rather than on more bony surfaces like the hips, knees, or elbows.

Taking the following proactive measures can also go a long way towards preventing a fall:

  • Make sure all walking areas both inside and outside of the home are free from clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords
  • Keep floors, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, dry and clean
  • Install grab bars around the tub and toilet
  • Ensure handrails are in place and secure along all stairways
  • Replace any worn carpeting and remove all loose rugs

At At Home Independent Living, our care team is skilled in making the home environment as safe from falls as possible, and skilled as well in providing ambulation assistance and oversight when needed to help ensure fall risk is minimized. We’re also on hand to engage in physician-approved exercise programs to boost balance and flexibility, resulting in overall better health and wellbeing. Call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for a free in-home consultation to discover more ways we can help!