Falling can put your loved one in harm's way and may result in serious injury and hospitalization. They likely need a few measures for prevention of falls that include hazard-proofing their residence, improving strength and balance, and talking with their primary care provider or pharmacist about the medications they take regularly.
According to the World Health Organization falls are among the second leading cause of unintentional injury or accidental deaths in the world. Adults aged 65 and older experience the greatest number of fatal falls.
There is simply not enough attention paid to fall prevention in the elderly and strategies that emphasize creating safer environments for them. We want to address some of these and why it's important to see whether medications can play a role in fall risk management.
One of the first things you should pay attention to is your loved one's medication. This is due to a variety of symptoms/side effects that can be caused by medications or drug interactions. These symptoms can include low blood pressure, dizziness, changes in vision and reduced balance among others. Take action by making an appointment with their physician or pharmacist.
Be sure to have their list of medications written out. Include over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and supplements to check for any interactions. Doctors are so specialized here in the US that you may see one doctor for your heart, one for your kidneys and have a separate primary care provider. They may unknowingly prescribe medications that do not interact well together.
If your loved one has fallen recently, be sure to mention this. Describe the situation, cause and symptoms surrounding the fall if possible.
Mention any health conditions are they currently struggling with ie. hard of hearing, low vision, dizziness, shortness of breath, numbness in your legs and feet, joint paint, etc.
You do not necessarily have to do a full home remodel to improve the safety of the home.
Here are some ways to prevent falls:
If your loved ones are wearing spectacles, be sure their current prescription is up to date and the glasses they're wearing are right for them.
Bear in mind that wearing transition tinted glasses may turn out to be hazardous when you move from a brighter area outside into darkened homes. A simple remedy is to pause for a while at the front entrance so your lenses may adjust to the different light conditions.
Bifocals may result in misjudging issues that can be problematic where stairs or changes in flooring are involved. When possible, opt for a place where everything is on one level with no stairs. If this is not an option, use hand rails and go slow when initiating a trip up or down stairs.
Prevention of falls is a concern for the children of elderly loved ones. If you notice that your elderly parent regularly holds onto furniture or walls when walking, it can be an indication they need to book an appointment with a physical therapist for strength exercises and balance training.
For more ideas to make an elderly loved one's home safer to prevent falls, consult the home assessment checklist offered by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!