Every year, 2 million adults over the age of 65 are treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by a fall. Every year, one out of every three adults in this age bracket will suffer from a fall. With each additional decade of life, falling becomes more and more of a concern.
Injuries sustained from falling can have long-term consequences, severely limiting mobility and affecting health. Many of these injuries can rob adults of their highly-valued independence. Fortunately, most falls can be avoided with just a bit of effort.
There are three main factors that must be considered for preventing falls among older adults: mobility, and perception. Let’s talk about why.
Environment. Some places are designed poorly, which can result in more falls and accidents than necessary. Other places are simply not designed to be accessible at all. One must also consider the climate – in good health or bad, people of all ages can end up slipping on ice and suffer a nasty fall. Luckily, indoor environments are easily modified to become more accessible to elders – adding handrails and good lighting is a great place to start. It’s also smart to remove slippery small rugs or fasten them securely to the floor. When venturing out of the home, don’t be afraid to rely on walkers, canes, or other similar devices. The minor effect it can have on one’s dignity is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that can come from taking a nasty spill.
Mobility. How well can your beloved elder move around? Staying fit is very important. Even mundane activities can contribute to fitness for elders, such as choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking far away from the door of the grocery store. For those confined to wheelchairs or beds, consult a doctor about appropriate levels of fitness activities.
Perception. Even with proper fitness and a relatively safe environment, danger can still lurk for elders who are no longer able to perceive their environment clearly. These issues can involve anything from vision and hearing loss to medication side effects or a decrease in mental faculties. Despite preventative efforts, conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease can cause problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Each person has individual needs. If you have concerns for a loved one, contact us here at Metropolitan Home Health Services, Inc. for a free home safety evaluation.