Elderly falls are a serious issue. Every year, more than 30% of adults over the age of 65 fall down. These falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for that age bracket and in 2010, direct medical costs as the result of an elderly fall totaled more than $30 billion dollars.
Of course, the “cost” of an elderly fall isn’t purely financial. Minor brain injuries can be more detrimental for adults diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s and increasing medical studies show the anesthesia associated with knee/hip replacement surgeries have more negative cognitive effects than we realized.
For these reasons, we highly recommend you adhere to these 10 tips to prevent elderly falls and increase your quality of life.
- Keep exercising. The more weak your muscles are, the more prone you are to falls. Exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit. Plus, it will strengthen muscles and help to maintain your sense of balance.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. If your body is malnourished or your blood sugar drops, you are likely to become shaky, dizzy and/or disoriented. All of these side-effects put you at risk for falls. Drink lots of water. Eat five small meals a day, concentrating on healthy proteins, whole-grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Observe your annual physical. Things like low blood pressure can also contribute to falls. Make sure you observe your annual physical, even if you’re feeling “fit as a fiddle” so your doctor can catch and monitor things you might not be able to feel going on with your body.
- Visit the eye doctor. Eyesight is a funny thing; the brain is good at compensating even when vision has diminished considerably. Unfortunately, vision loss causes depth perception issues and makes it harder to see things in your peripheral. Have your eyes checked at least once a year after you turn 65.
- Schedule a consultation with your pharmacist. Doctors and pharmacists try their best to make sure your medicines work in harmony with one another. Even so, there can be occasional glitches. Schedule a consultation with your pharmacist and have him/her review your medications to make sure none of them cause dizziness or drowsiness that may make you more susceptible to a fall.
- Take your time. Try not to rush around. This is especially true after moving from a seated or prone position to standing. Sudden drops in blood pressure can make you dizzy, and it increases the chances of instability or even a small fainting spell that can cause you to fall.
- Install grab bars. Hire a handyman to come install grab bars near your toilet, shower, bath tub, etc. You might feel like you don’t need them but you’ll be surprised how often you use them once they’re in place.
- Remove trip hazards. This is a good time to evaluate your home and eliminate trip hazards, such as cords, area rugs, small tables, etc., that are easy to stumble over.
- Provide adequate lighting. Make sure your lighting is adequate. If you have macular degeneration, cataracts or other vision issues, increase your bulb wattage just a bit to compensate. Put exterior lights and strategically placed interior lights on motion sensitive and/or time-sensitive timers so you never have to navigate your home or exterior in the complete dark.
- Ask for help when you need it. Don’t hesitate to get professional help for tasks like cleaning, yard work, running errands, etc. You can pick your favorite tasks and let a professional home care provider help with the rest.
Schedule a free consultation with HomeAide Home Care, Inc. and we’ll assess your home for potential fall risks.