Falls can happen at any time and any where. In addition weakened bones and declining muscle tone, many aging adults suffer from balance issues and vision impairment. Fall risks are in the home, the garden and in public settings and fall prevention is one of the best ways to help avoid fall-related injuries.
Clearly, preventing falls is one way of helping older individuals to avoid broken bones, bruises, and other injuries. Here are four tips to help keep your aging parents and other loved ones safe and less likely to slip, trip, or fall.
- Keep strong! Aging parents and spouses need to stay as healthy as possible and that includes keeping muscles strong. If the person over whom you are watching does not already have a regular exercise routine, encourage him or her to start one. Of course, check with your loved one’s doctor before starting any exercises to determine what is appropriate. Concentrate on exercises that focus on balance and coordination, as these are much more important than those that turn your aging parents into body builders.
- Check those meds! Some medications affect balance or may cause drowsiness, which can in turn increase the chances of a fall. This may even happen with a medicine that a person has been taking for years; as a body ages, it changes and that can alter the effect that a medicine has on a person. Take time to talk with your loved one’s doctor about the medications he or she is taking and the effects they might have.
- Be visionary! Good vision is important in preventing falls. Make sure your loved one has his or her eyes checked annually, not only for conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, but also for changes that may indicate the need for a new prescription.
- Fall-proof your home! Everyone needs a safe home that is as fall-proof as it can be. Here are a few ways that you can fall-proof your home:
- Keep the stairs clear of obstacles. Add handrails to staircases that don’t have them and make sure that stairs are appropriately lighted.
- Secure any throw rugs so that they don’t slip, slide, or roll up; if they can’t be secured, remove them.
- Make sure the bathtub or shower has non-slip rubber mats.
- Use night lights so that you can see during middle-of-the-night visits to the bathroom.
- Don’t go barefoot around the house. Wearing non-skid shoes is a better idea.
Following the tips above can go a long way toward keeping aging parents and others from experiencing falls. There’s an added bonus as well: they can help prevent falls among all members of the family, no matter the age. It’s a win-win situation!