Fortunately, many falls can be avoided by taking a proactive approach to prevention. Here are six tips you can use to protect your senior loved one from falling.
Fall Prevention Tips for Older Adults
- Conduct a home safety assessment: The majority of falls that happen to seniors occur right in their home, most notably in the bathroom. One step you can take to lower the risk for a fall, is to conduct a room-by-room home safety assessment. Common fall hazards include throw rugs, tears or bumps in carpet, lack of good lighting, and unsteady stairs. Clutter can also contribute. “How to Conduct a Home Safety Audit for a Senior” is a checklist you can use.
- Evaluate their diet: People often fail to realize how important eating is to fall prevention. A healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the keys to aging well. But older adults sometimes struggle with grocery shopping, menu planning, and meal preparation. They might not want to share this with adult children for fear of being a burden. Make time to talk to your senior loved one about their eating habits. Ask very specific questions about what they eat at every meal. Check their refrigerator and pantry to see what foods are there. This is also a good time to discuss how much water they drink each day as dehydration can lead to falls. If you are concerned their diet is less than desirable, your local Meals on Wheels program might be an option. Consider taking advantage of home delivered meal services such as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.
- Review the senior’s medications: Medication side effects and interactions can cause an older adult to be unsteady on their feet and at greater risk for falls. If your senior family member doesn’t already have a medication list, create one for them. Write down the dosages and times each medication is taken. Then call your pharmacy to see if the pharmacist can review the list with you and identify any potential problems. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter medications and homeopathic remedies on the list.
- Schedule an eye exam: Vision loss can also put an older adult at greater risk for a fall. Ask your senior loved one how long it has been since they had a vision test. A yearly eye exam helps identify issues early and gives the ophthalmologist an opportunity to intervene before small problems become big ones.
- Encourage exercise: Core strength and balance also play a role in fall prevention. Light weight training and resistance bands are good ways to help improve strength and balance and lower the risk of falling. As is true of any form of exercise, be sure your aging loved one talks with a physician before starting.
Five Star Senior Living communities are designed with the needs of older adults in mind. From grab bars in the bathrooms to sturdy handrails in the hallways, each helps to lower residents’ risk of falling.
Schedule a personal tour today to learn more about the fall prevention programs at Five Star!