This is a very significant problem for the elderly. As we age, our risk for falls increases. Even a small fall can have significant impact on functioning. Falls in the home are a major cause of hospitalizations and declines in health.
Ask your geriatric care manager about the Falls Prevention program. This set of services is designed to assess a senior’s risk for falls, in the hope of preventing falls before they happen, and to provide for a fall alert and rapid response if a fall occurs.
As part of this package, an experienced professional will come to your mother’s home to assess both her health condition and her home environment. From this, an individualized plan to reduce the risk for falls will be created, which may include:
Here’s some general advice on Fall Prevention
- changes in diet, exercise and medication
- modifications to the home from furniture placement to color coding
- appropriate home medical alert or telehealth device
A slip and fall is a threat to the lives, independence and health of elders. Every 18 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall. Every 35 minutes an elder dies as a result of his or her injury.
Susan Holodak, MS, director of the Jewish Home Lifecare Adult Day Health Care program recommends taking these precautions to reduce the chances of falling:
Start a regular exercise program.
Following an exercise regimen is one of the most significant ways to reduce the chances of falling. It strengthens your body and helps you feel better. Exercises that improve balance and coordination (like Tai Chi) are the most beneficial.
Ask your physician to review your medicines.
- Lack of physical activity leads to weakness and increases the chances of falling.
- Talk to your doctor or health care expert about the best type of exercise program tailored to your abilities and needs.
Your doctor or pharmacist should examine all the medicines you take (prescription drugs as well as non-prescription items such as cold medicines). Some medicines work differently as one ages, and the body changes. Certain prescriptions or combinations of medicines might make you drowsy or light-headed, which can lead to a fall.
Check your vision.
Have your eyes examined by an eye doctor. Your corrective prescription may have changed and you could be wearing the wrong glasses. Conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts limit your vision. Poor vision can add to your chances of falling.