Factors That Lead to Falls for Older Adults
How many of us have heard a story about a senior who fell down and hurt themselves? Maybe they broke a hip or hit their head. For seniors recovering from a fall, the road back to wellness can be difficult, slow, and sometimes life-altering.
The good news is that while we are more prone to falls as we age, we are not helpless when it comes to preventing them. The secret to effective fall prevention for seniors is knowing what factors contribute to them falling in the first place. Fall prevention is certainly a focus for professionals working in the assisted living industry, so our assisted living team in Camden County has some advice for families and individuals looking to minimize the risk of a fall.
Fall Prevention for the Elderly – What Causes It?
There are physical, medical, and environmental factors that can increase the risk of falls. Many of these can be monitored and controlled.
Poor balance, strength, and coordination. As we age, it’s normal to lose some of the strength, coordination, and balance we once had. What isn’t normal? Losing the majority of these elements due to inactivity and a completely sedentary lifestyle. Poor balance, strength, and coordination are driving factors that lead to falls that can cause serious damage, especially if you don’t have the strength to recover quickly from a bad fall.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to maintain our current abilities and prevent future falls. Exercise is the number one form of senior fall prevention. We recommend starting with light morning stretches or beginner yoga classes to focus on improving balance and coordination first, before moving on to strength training.
Vision issues. Less light reaches the retinas of our eyes as we grow older, meaning it could be more difficult to see in poorly-lit areas. Older adults may not be able to see and avoid unexpected tripping hazards like pesky wires or a load of laundry waiting to go in. With that being said, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your vision itself is not the reason for another fall. Make sure your prescription glasses or contact lenses are up to date and take a hard look at all the areas in your living space to ensure they are well-lit.
Medication side effects. Many older adults are taking more than one medication on a daily basis. Unfortunately, starting a new prescription or taking multiple medications can sometimes cause unpleasant side effects like dehydration, dizziness, and nausea. What you may not realize is that these side effects could cause another major issue: falling. When you are feeling out of your element, your whole equilibrium is off, leaving you vulnerable to a fall. That’s why keeping track of your medications is so important. If you or a loved one starts to notice any harmful side effects, speak to a doctor immediately. They may be able to prescribe a better alternative.
Unsafe living conditions. While the average home may be safe for most, the case is different for seniors. We’ve touched on this a little bit before, but let us stress once again how important it is to have your living space well-lit and free of clutter. Seniors with vision impairments need to live in a space that has upgraded lighting in problem areas such as the stairs, bathroom, and bedroom – that is also easy to access. Other essential modifications to the home include installing grab bars, ramps, and shower chairs. It’s important to note: if you feel your loved one is no longer safe living alone, even with essential home modifications, now may be the time to look into an assisted living solution that prioritizes safe senior living.
Safe and secure assisted living in Camden County NJ
Making the transition to assisted living can be an adjustment, but when you retire in a great town like Collingswood NJ, our residents find new friends, fun activities, as well as a safe, secure, and comfortable living environment. The assisted living apartments we provide are optimized for safety with grab bars in the bathrooms and 24-hour alert pendants. Not to mention, our associates, caregivers, and medical professionals are on-site 24/7 to ensure each resident’s needs and safety concerns are met at all times.