Protecting Your Elderly Loved Ones from Falls

The number one cause of accidental deaths in the adult population over age 65 is falls.

The number one cause of accidental deaths in the adult population over age 65 is falls. One in five falls results in a serious injury such as a head injury or a broken bone, and more than 2.5 million elderly Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year for fall-related injuries.

You can help protect your elderly loved ones from suffering severe injuries in a trip and fall accident by following a few simple tips.

  • Talk to them about their concerns. Many elderly individuals are concerned about getting injured from a fall, but they may be too embarrassed to bring it up or not know how to begin talking about it. Starting the conversation is the first step in helping to prevent injury.
  • Take them to the doctor. Their primary care physician can be a great asset in helping them live independently. A doctor can evaluate their risk for falling and recommend ways to help prevent falls, such as switching medications that may make them dizzy or telling them to try a walker or cane for added support. Their doctor can also recommend appropriate fitness programs to help them retain their mobility.
  • Take them to the eye doctor. Out-of-date eyeglass prescriptions are often to blame for falls because the elderly person can't see their surroundings well enough. A visit once a year to update glasses and get specialized glasses, such as progressive lenses or bifocals, can keep your loved one independently mobile for longer.
  • Declutter living spaces. Help keep the pathways around their home, both inside and outside free from clutter. Make sure water hoses are put away and plants are trimmed back from walkways. Dedicate a day or weekend to decluttering the pathways inside their home so they can safely walk throughout their living space.
  • Install safety equipment. Using non-skid rugs in the bathroom, kitchen, and entryways can help prevent falls. Install handgrips over the bathtub and near the toilet. Make sure handrails on the stairs are securely fastened. Consider a shower chair and handheld shower to make them feel safer.
  • Increase lighting. Both inside and outside the home, make sure that pathways are clearly lit.
  • Choose nursing home and assisted living facilities with care. When you entrust your loved one to a nursing home, you assume that they have your loved one's best interest at heart. However, nursing home neglect affects millions of elderly Americans. Take time to interview and visit the nursing home facilities you are considering.

Independent living is important for many elderly adults. Sadly, a fall can cause severe injuries that rob them of their independence and ability to live the fulfilling life they desire. Help reduce the risk of falling for your aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, and you can help them stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

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