Fall Prevention Safety Tips

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Senior hand holding grab bar_bathroom_7.jpgAs aging parents, spouses and others already know, preventing falls is very important as people get older.  Following these strategies for preventing falls (adapted from information from the Mayo Clinic) can make a big difference:

Talk things out with the doctor.  Having a conversation with the doctor about falls is a good place to start.  Aging parents should make a point of looking at all of the medications – both prescribed and over-the-counter – which they take and asking the doctor if any of these increase the risk of falling.  If so, the doctor may want to consider switching some of the medications to options which carry less of a risk or of discontinuing medicines which might be considered non-essential.  In addition, you should discuss what medical conditions (such as certain ear disorders that may affect balance) may make a fall more likely.  If you have fallen previously, make sure your doctor knows this.

Move on.  Some aging parents and others become worried about falling and actively decrease their physical activity. In fact, proper physical activity keeps the muscles in good shape and helps to prevent falls. Don’t start on an ambitious new exercise regimen, but do talk with your doctor about the kinds of exercises you can do (walking, tai chi, etc.) to keep your muscles strong.

Take care of your feet.  Sometimes people sacrifice practicality for fashion and style; in footwear, this can be a problem.  High heels, for example, can create a fall risk for some people.  The best bet is to wear shoes with a proper fit that provide plenty of support and have soles that reduce skidding.

Do a home check.  The typical home often has many obstacles that can increase fall conditions. Clutter, loose rugs, and improperly placed electrical cords are common and can cause slipping or tripping.  Furniture is often placed in a way that requires awkward maneuvering, such as a tight space between a coffee table and chairs. Items are often kept too high up on shelves or in cabinets.  Spills are not always taken care of promptly.  There are numerous “little” things that aging parents can do to make their homes safer and prevent falls.

Make your home lighter.  In addition to physically moving or changing items in a home, you can also make sure that there is adequate lighting so that any remaining obstacles are easily seen.  Night lights are very important for late-at-night trips to the bathroom.

Use walking or balance tools.  Some people will benefit from a cane or walker, but there are other tools that should be considered, including hand rails on stairs, as well as handles or bars and/or a non-skid bath mat and/or a seat or bench for the bathtub.

Proper fall prevention requires planning and care, but the safety it brings is well worth the effort.

Related Article

Seven Ways to Reduce the Risk of Falling - newportnews.myhomecareblog.com


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