Avoid Falls With These Tools and Techniques
More than 1 in 3 people over 65 fall each year. Many of those falls result in a trip to the emergency room. While the numbers seem scary, there are ways to help reduce fall risks.
If you are a caregiver to someone who falls frequently, there are tools available to you to help reduce the frequency of falls. In addition to eliminating fall risks in your aging parents’ home and looking into medical causes for falls, you can also help them improve their balance and strength to lower their risk.
Preventing Falls Through Exercise
Exercise improves balance and strengthens muscles to prevent falls. But how do you get someone to exercise who has never embraced it? Start small with simple exercises designed specifically for fall prevention.
Here are a few videos and guides I found on senior fall prevention.
Devices and technology to Prevent Falls
Using a device, such as a cane or walker, can greatly reduce fall risks. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult to convince a relative to use a device, even if they truly need one.
I had several customers who struggled with balance and gait issues but they refused to use a device because it made them feel “old.” I get it. In their minds, they are still in their 40s, or even 50s. It is hard to accept that your body and your mind are in the same place.
Some strategies that worked for me in getting clients to use a walker or cane was to suggest using it just at home initially. Many times, they’re more likely to use it if no one sees them. Another successful tactic is to remind them of the damage a fall can do. They’ll look far older in a hospital bed or wheelchair than they will using a cane.
In addition to walking devices, there are other technology tools that can be used to either prevent falls or get help quickly if there is a fall. If your aging parent has difficult reaching for items on high shelves, they can easily lose their balance and fall. Consider purchasing a reacher can help them grab items easily so that they don’t lose their balance.
If your parent doesn’t already have some form of Life Alert, you should consider getting them one. Of course, you’ll need to make sure they wear them, so consider one that is available to wear around their wrist. I find that clients are more likely to wear those than the alerts that hang around their neck. They may need a visual reminder to put on their alert after a shower or after entering the house. Consider putting up post it notes to remind them. The last thing you want is for them to take a fall on a day when they forgot to put on their alert system (it happens, trust me)!
Simple Steps to Avoid Falls
In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few more things you can do to prevent falls.
- Floppy slippers, slippery soles and stocking feet can all lead to falls. Encourage your parent to wear sturdy, skid proof shoes – even at home – to reduce their fall risk.
- Be sure to have proper lighting, including nightlights, in every room.
- Store frequently used items in easily accessible places so that your parent doesn’t have to reach or bend to get items that they use regularly.
Hopefully these tools will help you keep your caree active and healthy for a long time.