Have you or your aging loved one fallen recently at home? Falls are scary for the individual and for their family members; falls can increase feelings of vulnerability and significantly decrease peace of mind. Unfortunately, seniors have an especially high fall risk with the Centers for Disease Control reporting that more than one in every four seniors falls annually in America. However, that number is likely much higher as seniors do not always report their falls to their physician or family members.
Senior falls can have serious consequences, but there are ways you can decrease your risk – or your loved one’s risk – of falling. Here are a few keys to fall prevention that you can begin implementing today.
Make Fitness a Part of Your Day
Keeping up with a regular fitness program has plenty of benefits, including decreasing the risk of falling. The good news is that you don’t have to incorporate strenuous exercise in order to improve your balance, strength and endurance. You just have to put on your favorite pair of sturdy tennis shoes and head outside for a walk.
If you are nervous about starting a new fitness routine, consider meeting with a physician or physical trainer to talk more about fall risk and what balance exercises to incorporate throughout the day.
Find a Balance Screening
Most people do not realize their fall risk until they work with a professional. Balance screenings or fall risk assessments are often offered at local senior living communities, geriatrician offices or physical therapy sites. A quick internet search or call to your physician can lead you to a local screening. You’ll find out more about your risk factors as well as recommendations to increase safety at home.
Make Home Safer
The majority of senior falls happen at the home, often in the bathroom and often at nighttime. If you or your loved one are at risk of falling, you can use a weekend or two to complete a few projects that will make home a bit safer.
In the bathroom, try installing grab bars near the toilet and investing in a showerseat as well as a handheld shower head. If it is in the budget, consider upgrading to a shower that does not require a large step to get in. In all areas of the home, secure rugs to the floor with tape, remove clutter that doesn’t allow safe passage, and upgrade lighting to be brighter. Add nightlights to the bathroom, hallway and bedroom, too, in order to make navigating at nighttime safer.
Get an Emergency Plan in Place
Finally, ensure there are plans in place in case a fall does happen. A medical alert device can be a sound investment that you or your loved one can push in case of emergency. It’s also a good time to review check-in routines within your family. For example, can someone be sure to call Mom every morning and another person check in with her every night around dinner?
Consider Senior Living
Finally, sometimes living at home is just not the safest option. Senior living communities specialize in creating environments that are designed to reduce falls as well as provide the around-the-clock support in case there is an emergency. Access to group fitness programs, fitness centers, fall risk assessments, and balance screenings are more benefits when you choose senior living such as The Glen Retirement System in Shreveport, Louisiana.