5 Tips for Michigan Caregivers
If you are a caregiver for an older loved one, the statistics on falls can be downright frightening. One in three seniors suffers a fall every year. Falls are consistently the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors.
What can you do to help prevent your senior loved one from falling?
These 5 tips can help:
1. Consider having their home evaluated for safety by a professional. It might require you to have a physician’s order, but many therapy companies offer this service. A physical or occupational therapist will come to your aging loved one’s home and make recommendations on how you can improve it to keep them safer. They might recommend grab bars in the bathrooms or eliminating all throw rugs in the house. All tactics that can help keep your loved one from taking a tumble that could cause a serious injury.
2. Good lighting can help prevent falls. It might not seem obvious to adult children, but dimly lit rooms can increase the risk of a fall for seniors. Older adults often have diminished or impaired vision. That makes it harder for them to see obstacles on the floor or where the steps begin and end. Other important lighting details include installing light switches at the top and bottom of stairways and having nightlights in all rooms and hallways. Nightlights are especially important in the rooms an older adult might use after dark, like the bathroom and the kitchen.
3. Strength and balance exercises are important. It is a common myth that exercise increases the chance an older adult will experience a fall. In fact, participating in strength training and balance exercises are some of the best ways to prevent a fall. Talk with your senior loved one’s primary care physician about it. They can recommend the best way to get started.
4. Know the side effects of all medications being taken. This is an often overlooked factor that contributes to falls. If an older adult you care for is experiencing dizziness, a single medication or interaction between medications, might be to blame. Review the side effects and potential interactions of all medicines with their physician or pharmacist. There might be an alternative they can take instead.
5. Encourage your loved one to be compliant with assistive devices. Physicians often site non-compliance as a reason a patient has taken a spill. If you are a caregiver, you may have witnessed this behavior for yourself. An older adult might not think they need to use their cane or walker inside their own home. They might not even be as good about wearing their glasses. Remind them that most falls and injuries to seniors happen at home.