Seniors. They're our grandparents, fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers. They're our friends, our colleagues, and the leaders of our communities. They were there for us in the best and worst of times. They helped us then, let's help them now.
Prevent Deadly Falls for Seniors
As we age, we lose our balance. We all do. It's a natural part of the aging process. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that falls were the leading cause of seniors' injuries, fatal and non-fatal.
The National Council on Aging suggests several ways we can work with our older loved ones to avoid falls, here are just a few:
- Promote exercise and encourage them to meet with a physical therapist. As we age, we lose strength, stamina, coordination, and flexibility. This is the way of life. Our bodies age over time. We can't prevent aging, but we can slow it down. Encourage seniors to stretch, go for walks, and exercise. If they can't do this alone, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.
- Keep an eye on their eyes. Optometrists are important. Talk to the seniors you know and make sure they're keeping up to date with their prescription. If they wear glasses, make sure they wear them. Vision issues are responsible for more than a few falls.
- Ask them if they experience any side effects because of their medication. In 2017, it's common for seniors to be on several medications at once. If you notice any side effects, encourage them to contact their doctor.
- Visit their homes and remove obstacles that could cause falls. This is a big one. It's fairly easy too. Help your loved ones keep their homes clean and orderly. Make sure they have a cane or side rails to their stairs if needed.
Help Seniors Modify Their Homes
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) came up with several ways to remodel your home to prevent deadly falls for seniors:
- Improve lighting. As we age, it's harder for us to see in the dark. Shadows can obscure vision and lead to falls. Make sure all of their light bulbs are working.
- Handrails. Physical infirmity makes it harder to maintain balance unassisted. In the bedroom, bathroom, shower, and all of the staircases, handrails provide seniors with support when they need to climb, bend, and stoop.
- Spread out the furniture. If seniors have more space to move around, they'll be less likely to trip and fall.
- Replace loose carpet. Loose carpet is a major tripping hazard. Fixing loose carpet is a good safety measure for preventing slip and fall accidents in an elderly person's home.
- Encourage them to place valuables on shelves, at waist level. Suggest they put their keys on the kitchen counter, near the sink. Discourage seniors from placing keys, the remote, and other items on coffee tables, the couch, or other areas that would require them to bend to retrieve them.
Speak with Medical Professionals and Research Ways to Help
If the seniors in your life live in a nursing home or retirement community, speak with the medical staff. Ask them how you can help encourage your loved ones to take the precautions needed to prevent falls.
When you don't know how to help, seek answers! Don't be complacent. Be proactive. Search for ways to help the seniors in your life.
Support the Seniors in Your Life
Time sneaks up on all of us. We can't run from it forever. We get old. It's always been that way and it always will be. We can't live forever, but we can take steps to stay as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible.
So, now you know. Go out, talk to your loved ones. Teach them how to protect themselves, and never stop searching for ways to prevent deadly falls for seniors.