When an elderly loved one falls, it can be a scary experience for everyone involved. Repeated falls can be especially frightening since you never know whether a fall will result in a minor injury or a serious catastrophe. You may be wondering what to do when elderly keep falling.
There are several ways to get peace of mind. Read on to learn more about the common reasons for falls and steps you can take to prevent falling.
Risk Factors for Falls
While seniors are more prone to falls in general than those in earlier stages of life, a few common risk factors can increase falls. Health issues, vision decline, and medication side effects are some of the big risk factors associated with falls.
Even in the most active adults, the physical effects of aging can take a toll. For seniors who do not exercise regularly, the risk factor for falls is even greater. Failure to exercise can reduce muscle strength, decrease bone mass, and cause poor balance.
Poor health increases the likelihood of a fall and makes it more likely that a fall will result in serious injury.
As adults age, vision can become impaired quickly and unexpectedly. If a senior cannot see tripping hazards such as steps and curbs, they are far more likely to experience a fall. Even the most physically fit seniors may not be able to react quickly enough to a hazard they didn’t see coming.
In addition, seniors often don’t want to admit their vision is declining, making this a challenging risk factor to mitigate.
Medication Side Effects
Unfortunately, many medications seniors take to improve their health have side-effects that can be a risk factor for falls. Some medications cause drowsiness, low blood pressure, and dizziness.
Prescription drugs for sleep disorders and cardiovascular drugs are common culprits. However, even dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications can have side effects that contribute to falls.
What to do When Elderly Keep Falling
When a loved one has issues keeping their balance or is experiencing repeated falls, it is natural to wonder what to do. Read on for a few steps you can take today to help your loved one avoid falling.
Discuss Their Health
Since declining health is one of the primary risk factors for falls, it is important to discuss the state of your loved one’s health. Ask if they are feeling weaker, having trouble sleeping or walking, or if they’ve been to the doctor recently.
If they express concerns about their declining health, or if you notice signs of poor health, it is important to get them to a doctor or a physical therapist to help restore their health and their ability to maneuver without falling.
Ask About Their Vision
Just because your loved one wears glasses doesn’t mean they can see well. Make sure that their prescription is up to date and that they have the vision assistance they need to see properly. You can even consult with a low-vision specialist to learn ways to cope with poor vision.
Assess Their Balance
Assessing a loved one’s balance can be difficult if you aren’t around them all the time. However, sometimes there are signs. If they are always holding on to walls and furniture or frequently asking for someone to escort them, they may be having trouble with balance.
Declining balance can occur for many reasons, but it is also something that can improve. Getting help from a trained physical therapist can help build muscles that improve balance and strength through exercise. Therapists can also make other recommendations, such as a cane for extra stability.
Talk About Medications
As previously mentioned, medication side effects are a strong risk factor for falls. However, inconsistent use of medication can also lead to unexpected side effects. Ask your loved one if they have trouble keeping track of medicines or are experiencing side effects.
Talking to their doctor about alternative regimens or helping them get on a schedule to manage their medications better can go a long way in preventing falls.
Assess the Safety of Their Home
Sometimes, homes that look perfectly safe can pose many hazards for the elderly. Things that you don’t think about, such as extra stairs or dimly-lit rooms, can lead to a fall.
Small improvements—such as increasing the lighting in hallways and installing grab bars in bathrooms—can make a huge difference in preventing a fall.
For professional assistance, you can also seek help from an occupational therapist.
You Can Help Avoid Falls
It can be difficult to know what to do when elderly keep falling when it comes down to it. But with a few simple steps, you can make a big difference and avoid the frequency and seriousness of falls.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.