Fall Prevention and Recovery

One slip or misstep can cause a person to fall, landing them in the hospital with a long road to recovery. Falls can result in broken bones, back and joint problems that can lead to a lifetime of issues. Some people are more susceptible to falls, including people with certain disabilities, and those who are over 65. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, one in four adults over age 65 fall each year. Since falling poses such a tremendous risk, and since many elderly people are afraid of falling, it’s important to know how you can help your loved one by preventing falls and helping them to recover if one occurs.

Let’s look at what causes falls and what you can do to help your loved one remain healthy and strong.

What can cause falls?

There are many things that can cause a person to fall. Safety hazards at home pose the greatest risk, since people walk throughout their homes each day. Additionally, certain medications can cause people to become dizzy or tired, making them more at risk of falling.

As a person ages, their reflexes aren’t as quick, and their coordination declines, causing mobility problems. Simple tasks like walking to the kitchen for a glass of water and getting up from a chair can be dangerous, especially as a person’s eyesight declines. Add to this a decline in a person’s ability to hear, and it makes them much more susceptible to a fall. Small items that are left on the floor and in-home pets can quickly become tripping hazards that can cause a person to fall.

Falls can cause all sorts of serious problems including broken bones and head injuries that lead to hospitalization and long recovery times. Even worse, seniors who fall frequently become afraid of falling again, and their fear causes them to avoid everyday activities like shopping and walking outdoors, in order to avoid falling again.

What risk factors make falls more likely to occur?

There are many risk factors that make it more likely that a person can fall. If a person has any of the following conditions, they’re more likely to suffer a fall.

  • Balance and gait problems
  • Foot problems that cause pain
  • Wears unsafe footwear
  • Takes medication that can cause drowsiness or dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Chronic diseases
  • Depression
  • Overall weakness
  • Suffers from postural hypotension
  • A history of falling

If a person suffers from postural hypotension, that means their blood pressure drops too quickly when they stand up from a lying or sitting position. This can cause a person to become lightheaded and fall.

Additionally, a person who lives alone is more likely to fall. That’s because they don’t have an extra set of eyes to look for clutter or other fall hazards before they become a problem.

How to prevent falls from happening

First and foremost, in-home caregiversare one of the best ways to prevent a person from falling. These caring individuals can encourage the client to get plenty of exercise, and they can ensure that the client is taking their medications as directed, keeping dizziness and other side effects at bay. A caregiver can also keep the floors from becoming slippery when wet, so the client doesn’t have to worry about slipping and falling after their shower or bath.

Some other methods for preventing falls include the following:

Get plenty of exercise

Clients who exercise regularly are stronger and their joints, ligaments, and tendons are flexible. This keeps a person’s body healthy so they’re less likely to fall. It doesn’t take much. A simple walk around the block can suffice, depending on the person’s activity level and needs.

Get plenty of rest

Getting enough sleep helps you to function throughout the day, and it keeps you alert and your reflexes sharp. To prevent your loved one from falling, make sure they’re getting enough sleep each night.

Use assistance if necessary

Encourage your loved one to use their cane or walker if they need it. Their doctor will determine whether mobility assistance is necessary, and if so, make sure your loved one uses it every time they’re in motion. One small stumble can lead to a fall that causes serious injury.

Check all medications

If your loved one is taking any medications, check to see whether the side effects could increase his or her risk of falling. Some side effects that make falling more likely include dizziness and drowsiness.

Wear the right shoes

Backless shoes and shoes with high heels make falling more likely, so if your loved one is at risk of falling, make sure they’re wearing the right shoes. This includes shoes that have non-skid, rubber soles. Keep the laces tied and make sure the shoes fit comfortably. Never let your loved one walk in his or her socks or in slippers if they’re at risk of falling — especially going up and down the stairs.

Stand up slowly

If your loved one is at risk of falling, make sure they stand up slowly from a lying or sitting position. Postural hypotension can cause their blood pressure to drop too quickly, leading to dizziness and the potential for falls.

How PASCO’s In-Home Health Care services can help

At PASCO, we believe in helping clients to live comfortably in their homes with as much independence as possible. We support family members as Family Caregivers since we believe they know how to care for their loved ones best. PASCO has created the Family Caregiver Program that provides four different ways for family members to become caretakers for their loved ones, so they can do things like manage their medications, provide meal preparation services, and help with fall prevention and recovery.

We’ll help you support your loved one if they’re at risk of falling, and if they’ve already fallen, we’ll help you provide the best care for them. If you’d like to learn more about how to become a Family Care Provider and how PASCO can help with fall prevention and recovery, contact us today.

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