Fall Prevention 101: A Guide for Seniors & Families
Millions of older people fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While younger people may not think much of a simple household trip, falls are much more serious than many realize. Their aftermath can drastically alter a person’s quality of life, putting their physical and mental health at risk. That’s why fall prevention is so critically important.
At ComForCare, our mission is to help older adults live at home safely and confidently for as long as possible. We work alongside families, providing not only expert care but also educational resources to support healthy relationships and healthy families. Let’s take a look at why fall prevention matters, how to recognize risk factors, and what you can do to prevent falls!
Why Fall Prevention Matters
While not every fall results in a serious injury, one in five does—and the consequences can be life-altering. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures, and they account for 3 million emergency department visits each year. And while it’s painful to think about, the CDC estimates that by 2030, falls could cause dozens of deaths per day.
Even if the fall itself doesn’t result in death, the complications can be devastating. Seniors may experience severely limited mobility and cognitive function, restricting their activities, leading to physical decline and even depression and social isolation. All of these outcomes are linked to a shorter lifespan.
Most Common Risk Factors for a Fall
- Medications: Some medications or combinations of medications can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and delayed reaction times as side effects.
- Cognitive impairments: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can slow down reaction times or make it easy to become distracted and overlook a fall risk.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Many older adults don’t get enough protein or vitamin D in their diets, leading to muscle loss and weakness that increases the risk of falling.
- Lower body weakness: Many health conditions and simply aging itself can lead to weakness in the lower body or difficulties with walking and balance.
- Health care issues: blood pressure that is too low or too high, vision impairments, and even podiatric issues can all contribute to falls.
What Can Seniors Do to Prevent Falls?
For optimized comfort and safety at your or your loved one’s home, use these steps to prevent falls!
Home Safety Interventions
Fall-proofing your home is one of the most important interventions you can make. To start, remove any throw rugs, floor clutter, or electrical cords that can be tripped over. Additional changes to consider include:
- Fixing any broken or uneven steps & flooring
- Moving furniture so loved ones using an assistive device like a cane or walker can easily navigate around it
- Installing grab bars in bathrooms
For additional steps, download our fall risk reduction guide! To fully safeguard your loved one and account for their needs, you may also consider a personalized fall risk assessment.
Exercises for Balance & Strength
In some cases, older adults may need the help of a physical therapist or occupational therapist to regain their strength and balance. But all seniors can benefit from exercises to reduce the risk of falls. Even simple exercises can help!
One of the easiest leg-strengthening exercises is the calf raise. From a standing position, rise up on your toes, keeping your heels above the ground. Then, slowly return to your normal position. Try doing three sets of ten calf raises with one to three minutes of rest in between. Call in a friend or family member to help with balance!
Improve Awareness & Reduce the Fear
Fall risk awareness sits at the middle of a spectrum. On one hand, some people don’t realize that falls aren’t a normal part of aging and therefore don’t understand their risk factors. On the other, some people become afraid, reducing or restricting healthy activities out of a fear of falling.
Fall risk management programs like Gaitway are designed to help older adults overcome those fears and minimize their risks. Gaitway helps people view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, and take manageable steps to reduce their fall risks at home.
Consider In-Home Care
If your loved one has one or more fall risk factors or has fallen in the past, it may be time to consider in-home care. ComForCare’s caregivers are trained in all aspects of fall prevention, performing safety assessments and screenings, recommending adjustments to the home environment, and so much more.
Our caregivers understand senior nutrition and can prepare meals to support their vitamin, mineral, protein, and hydration goals. They can provide mobility assistance to boost confidence and make getting around easier. They can manage medications and coordinate with healthcare providers. And above all, they’re an additional resource for families supporting elderly loved ones, establishing open lines of communication about fall fears and concerns.
Schedule a Home Safety Evaluation with ComForCare
Being an active fall manager for a loved one is an important role. But it can be a lot to manage, and important things easily go unmanaged or unnoticed. If you’re ready for a partner to close the gaps and provide an expert perspective, choose ComForCare.
We provide in-home care services to help seniors age comfortably and safely at home. We’ll match your family member with a caregiver ideally suited to their preferences, personality, and needs so you can rest assured that they’re receiving the best assistance possible.
Schedule a home safety evaluation with ComForCare today to protect your loved one and support their needs!
Contact ComForCare to Be Matched with Your Perfect Caregiver
With over 200 locations and counting, ComForCare is the premier provider of in-home senior care solutions in North America. Our evidence-based care programs, caregiver matching, and robust staff training & support ensure that we can provide compassionate, individualized care to seniors with wide-ranging needs. Find your nearest location or give us a call to ask questions today!