Every year, millions of older adults fall. What’s even more troubling, is that more than one in four adults fall every year and less than half of these adults tell their doctor. And if an older adult falls once, this doubles their chances of falling again, and the risk of falling and fall-related problems rises with age. There is good news, though. Many falls can be prevented, and there are steps that can be taken to help reduce the risk of falling for seniors.

There are certain risk factors or conditions that can contribute to falling. Many of these factors can be modified to help prevent falls. To assess a senior’s risk, and fall prevention strategies, a good place to start is by making an appointment with their doctor. Health conditions, medications, and any previous falls may all contribute to falls. A doctor will be able to evaluate a person’s risk and recommend ways to reduce it.

Staying physically activity can improve muscle mass, balance, coordination, and strength. There are modifications to help seniors with all types of conditions, and it’s important to find exercises that are appropriate for their health and activity level. Exercise programs that are designed to prevent falls in aging adults can also prevent injuries caused by falls, including the most severe ones.

Most falls happen at home, where people spend most of their time and tend to move around without being over concerned about their safety. As we get older, changes in the home are often needed to prevent falls and ensure the safety of your aging parent or loved ones. For example, handrails can help make a senior feel more secure when moving through ‘he home or going up and down stairs. They also help mobility and safety in the bathroom. Having good lighting throughout the home can go a long way towards fall prevention. Motion activated lights are a simple option to help light stairwells or hallways and make it easier to navigate. For older adults, loose rugs and flooring are the most common objects associated with falls resulting in hip fractures. It’s important to ensure that all carpets are firmly attached to the floor, and that all loose rugs are removed from the home. Additionally, keeping frequently used Items within reach without a step stool and keeping debris or clutter clear from high traffic areas are both ways to reduce tripping and falls.

Vision changes often make it more difficult to move around in the home or public spaces. Routine eye exams help catch these changes so seniors adjust accordingly. If they use bifocal or progressive lenses, they should consider also getting a pair of glasses with a single prescription for certain activities like walking, as sometimes multiple prescriptions can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are, which could also lead to falls.

Simple precautions can help seniors stay safe and prevent falls. If you or your aging loved one are concerned about falls, please give us a call at (920) 740-8441 or email us at sue@coylecaremanagement.com to find out how we can help you safely live out your golden years.