As professionals in the senior care/home care field and working with many elderly adults, we have seen first-hand the risk that falls pose to elderly men and women. Frequently, seniors are admitted to home care services as a result of a recent fall. Other times, the fall happened months ago and the senior has been through months of rehabilitation therapy at an in-patient care facility. These extended stays at nursing homes are usually not on a short list of places that seniors wish to stay. While the care is often good at these care facilities, the experience is not always as positive as staying in the comfort of one’s home.
Additionally, reports suggest that falling is the leading cause of death for Americans age 65 or older. In fact, according to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three senior adults fall each year. While this statistic does not let us know the percent of those who fall that are injured it does allow us to understand that falling is a common thing for elderly adults. Another statistic reveals that the chance of injury is common considering that 70% of accidental deaths within the elderly population account are because of falls.
Often times a fall that would cause minimal injury to a middle aged adult can be devastating and possibly life threatening for an elderly person who falls. Many times, falls among senior adults results in broken bones, head injuries, as well as emotional damage. When a senior adult falls, they often lose confidence in their ability to ambulate safely. This leads them to ambulate less often, which results in a loss of ability to ambulate safely. Strength and equilibrium are often lost, which leads to functional decline.
Clearly, falls among senior adults can be devastating. So what can be done to help prevent falling-related accidents in the elderly? While falling cannot be completely prevented there are some things that can be done to help either yourself or an elderly person in your life:
- Improve your body balance with exercise
- Increase home accessibility and safety
- Watch out for medication side effects that cause dizziness or drowsiness
- Have your vision checked regularly
- Have your hearing checked regularly (some hearing problems can cause dizziness and equilibrium to be off)
- Have a Geriatric Care Nurse assess the home for fall hazards, and provide safety suggestions
- Have a Physical Therapist assess the senior adult for ambulation skills and offer recommendations for exercises to increase safe ambulation
Family Private Care has been in the senior home care field since 1996. From our first beginnings to the present, the safety of seniors has always been a priority. As a result as working with families of elderly adults at home, we have seen first hand the difference that proper planning and early intervention can make. There are many geriatric registered nurses on our registry that have specialized training and experience in caring for senior adults at home. These nurses are experts and are gladly available to come to a senior’s home and make recommendations for changes that should be considered to make the home a safer environment.
If you would like to schedule a geriatric nurse assessment, please contact Family Private Care via the “contact us” form on our website, or by the phone numbers listed on our website.
Please note that the information above is not intended to be medical advice in any way. Any excercise program should always begin after consulting with your primary care physician.