We all remember the iconic late night commercial that was widely circulated in the 1980’s of the senior lady falling and saying…wait for it…you know this one, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Unfortunately, falls in seniors are no laughing matter. As our parents age we need to become aware of their increased risk of falling and what steps can be taken by us to mitigate that risk. One in three people over age 65 will fall at least once per year, this number increases as the senior is older.
Falls are the leading cause of hospitalizations related to injuries for seniors. They are a serious risk and can really affect the quality of life of a senior after the fall. There are three main areas in which and why falls occur, one is general health and safety around the home, another is your parent’s physical abilities and finally the physical environment in which your parents live can affect the potential for falls. Here are 3 critical steps to help fall prevention in seniors:
- Step 1: Review at Home Health and Safety
- Step 2: Determine Abilities
- Step 3: Assess the Physical Environment
When it’s all said and done remember to go easy on the senior(s) in your life!
It is important to remember that these are suggestions and guidelines and each situation is different and unique. We don’t want to descend on our parents with a pseudo swat/construction team and remove half of their furniture, tape the stairs, add grab bars to every inch of free surface area in their bathroom, and bath the house in sensor activated flood lights.
These steps can be taken slowly one at a time, and most definitely with your parent’s consent and buy in. You want to make sure they are safe in their homes, but you must do it in a way that preserves their independence and dignity. I really try to stress with our clients that these preventative measures are not taking away their independence, but in fact are enhancing it.
Owner, Senior Homecare by Angels London