This brings back memories of my role as a caregiver for my 91-year-old mother. Keeping her safe from falls was one of our major concerns, especially when she thought she didn’t need any help walking. My mother loved her toilet grab bar and hand rails though. She even showed them off to me one day.

Falls can happen to anyone but are more common as we grow older. Fall accidents can lead to fatal injuries, which impact a senior’s independence and quality of life. Loved ones also suffer the anguish - brought on by an accident - that perhaps, could have been prevented.

1. Have a doctor review all medication

Multiple medications are a risk factor for fall accidents. Monitor your loved one’s intake of medicines. Set aside those that need to be taken with each meal and at bedtime. Medications may cause dizziness along with other side effects. When combined with over-the counter remedies or supplements, a dangerous reaction can occur. Cold and flu tablets, cough syrups, and allergy medicines are non-prescription medicines that can cause more harm. Herbal supplements can also alter the effectiveness of medications and affect your loved one’s balance.

2. A yearly eye exam is an integral part of your loved one’s safety

Impaired vision contributes to falls. As we age, less light reaches our eyes. Seniors may not be aware of the changes and become prone to falling. Eye disorders interfere with balance and increase the risk of falls. Have a physician check for cataract, glaucoma, and floaters, which are common concerns for the elderly. Managing their appointments is a precaution that is sometimes overlooked and equally important.

3. Exercise regularly to improve balance and coordination

Lack of exercise results in instability. Health issues also arise without adequate exercise. Staying active is an integral part of your loved one’s quality of life. Plan a daily exercise routine and take part in it. Encourage your loved one to stay active. Walking can help seniors lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. Tai chi is another exercise that’s noted as one of the best exercises to help improve stability. Consult a physical before attempting any exercises though.

4. Ensure your home is a safe and secure environment

Fall hazards in the home contributes to falls. Keep paths clear of any clutter that could be hazardous. Keep paths clear of any clutter that could cause your loved one to fall. Remove electrical cords, throw rugs, and small furniture. Remove hazardous items left on the floor,, such as dog or children’s toys. Check that entrances to the bedroom and bathroom are clear. Pay close attention to safety in the bathroom. An unsafe bathroom is a threat to the elderly. Edges in and around the shower contribute to serious injuries. Falls often occur in the bathtub where the floor is slippery. Bathroom safety products are essential preventive measures for you to seriously consider.

Remedies

  • Separate medication in a pill organizer box.
  • Place a night light or motion-sensor light in the bedroom or bathroom.
  • Keep a few flashlights handy in different areas of the house.
  • Check that hallways are well-lit and light switches are easy to reach.
  • Place a non-skid mat on the floor in and outside of the bathtub.
  • Install grab bars, shower benches, handheld shower heads, and toilet bars.
  • Ensure there are handrails on the stairways, on both sides if possible.
  • Use an emergency alert system with motion-sensor capabilities.

Want to know more about Seniors and Falls?

Falls can happen to anyone but are more common as we grow older. Senior citizens are at a higher risk of fall accidents. As their strength and balance decline, unintentional falls become a plight of danger. In Hawaii, statistics show that those over age 65 are at greater risks. Falls are among the leading cause of fatal injuries for residents of all ages. We are sometimes unaware of the many factors that contribute to falls. Some simple precautions can help maximize the safety and security of your senior parent or loved one. Preventive care helps to control the quality of your loved ones’ lives. They remain active and self-sufficient. And...you and the ohana can enjoy their company for many more years.