Fall Prevention Tips For Seniors

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 8:59 am

The first day of fall kicks off a Fall Prevention Crusade to warn local families to safety proof their homes to prevent seniors from falling. Falls are the #1 cause of injuries, hospital visits, and deaths among those 65 and older. That’s why Senior Helpers, one of the largest in-home senior care companies with an office in our area, warns families to safety proof their homes with a “Fall Prevention Checklist.”

“Falls have become a nationwide problem and despite what people may think about the older population…falls are not inevitable. In fact, they’re largely preventable,” says Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, with a local office of highly trained caregivers specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. “Up to 30 percent of those who fall suffer injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas. Our highly trained caregivers can help spot danger zones in and around seniors’ homes and help seniors move around their environment more carefully.”

Consider This:
Source: CDC

• 1 out of 3 seniors falls each year.
• In 2008, 19,700 older Americans died from fall related injuries.
• In 2008, 2.1 million older Americans were injured in falls.
(Latest data available)

Senior Helpers “Fall Prevention Checklist”

Install handrails on BOTH sides of stairs and grab bars in bathrooms (1/3 of households in America with stairs DO NOT have banisters or handrails. Only 19% of households in America have grab bars in tubs/showers).
Provide plenty of light at the top and bottom of stairs and throughout hallways.
Paint the bottom basement step white to make it more visible.
Secure rugs to the floor to prevent tripping.
Attach non-slip strips to the bottom of slippers and shoes.
In outside areas, check steps and walkways for loose bricks, cement or stone.

Senior Helpers “Fall Prevention Checklist” for Dementia/Alzheimer’s Patients

Encourage seniors to wear hip protectors (90% of hip fractures are due to falls).
Make sure they have a walking aid within reach.
Use an emergency sensor overnight to help detect wandering.
Do not use bed rails overnight. Instead, lower the bed to the ground.
Encourage seniors to rest with the head of the bed slightly raised.
Use a seatbelt on a shower chair. Never leave them in the shower or bathroom unattended.

“When you care for a senior with dementia, you have an added responsibility because dementia puts seniors at the highest risk for wandering which increases chances for falling,” says Ross. The “Fall Prevention Checklist” is one initiative in our dementia and Alzheimer’s program called our Senior Gems® program. We recommend families hire our caregivers because they know how to keep senior loved ones safe while simultaneously encouraging mobility and independence. This takes training and experience.”

Other Tips To Help Prevent Falling:

Have Foot Size Measured – do this each time your senior buys shoes. Foot size changes with age and a shoe that is too big increases the risk of a fall.
Exercise Regularly – choose activities that increase leg strength and improve balance in seniors, such as Tai Chi.
Eye Check-ups – make sure senior loved ones have their eyes checked by a doctor at least once a year and have their eyeglasses updated as needed.
A good tip: consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for activities such as walking outside.
Review Medications – have a doctor or pharmacist review medications/prescriptions to learn what may cause side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness.

This story affects all seniors and their families in your area. Help us spread the word about Fall Prevention Awareness by touring a senior’s home with Senior Helpers experts/caregivers as they point out the most common danger spots.

Did You Know?

In 2008, 82% of fall deaths were among people 65 and older.
Fall-related fractures occur more than twice the rate for older women than for older men.
More than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falls. And white women have significantly higher hip fracture rates than black women.
Direct medical costs of falls equaled $28.2 billion in 2010.

To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s through the Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems® program, please visit our website at www.seniorhelpers.com. There, you can also request a complimentary Senior Gems DVD.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AgedCarer

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