Facts on Falls and Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

Falls are a serious health issue for older adults. The number of falls for seniors in the United States is likely to increase as the people live longer and the population ages.  Below LadyNurseWalkingare some facts about falls in the U.S., and ways for seniors and their caregivers to help prevent them.

Fall Facts

  • Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall in the United States.
  • One in three seniors suffers a fall each year.
  • The incidence of falls increases with age.
  • In the United States, women over 70 years of age are more likely to suffer a fall and have double the rate of injury compared to men of the same age.
  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury like a broken bone.
  • Each year, over 2.5 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries.
  • More than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
  • Falls are the most common cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

sources: CDC, Pubmed

What Seniors Can Do

  • Do exercises that help with strength and balance such as Tai Chi. These exercises can help the body become better at avoiding falls. Lower body strength exercises are particularly helpful.
  • Have your eyes checked. Having an eye exam can identify problems with vision
  • Talk to your doctor if you are taking a medication that interferes with balance.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement – Vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor for falls.
  • Make sure you have proper supportive footwear and talk to your doctor about any foot pain you may be experiencing.

What Caregivers Can Do

  • Ensure that the home is safe by installing grab bars near the shower and toilet
  • Make sure the home is well lit, and consider installing night lights as well.
  • Fix home hazards such as broken or uneven steps or rugs and items that can be tripped over.

source: CDC

Is It Time for Assisted Living?

09How does a caregiver know when it’s time to consider assisted living for their loved one? Sarah Stevenson at A Place for Mom put together a list of signs that memory care or assisted living might be the most helpful option. Here are a few of them:

Wandering. If dementia is a problem or potential problem for your loved one, wandering is a higher risk. Wandering can be dangerous as it can increase the probability of falls and injuries.

Sundowning. A common characteristic of Alzheimer’s, sundowning describes agitated behavior that becomes worse late in the day.

Aggression. If a loved one is verbally or physically aggressive it might be time to consider assisted living care. These are signs that dementia may be setting in.

Home safety issues. If you are concerned about the safety of your family member in the home, this is a sign that it may be time to seek outside help.

Escalating care needs. If the needs of your loved one are beyond their caretaker’s abilities, or the health of the caregiver is at risk, steps should be taken to improve the situation.

Caregiver stress. Caregivers should take care to look after their own wellbeing in addition to those being cared for. If a caregiver is overly stressed their needs should also be considered.

Check out the full article on A Place For Mom. If any of these factors are an issue for you or a caretaker caring for someone you love, consider finding out more about assisted living or memory care facilities near you.

Bath Tips for Seniors

January is National Bath Safety Month.  At home, the highest rate for injuries to seniors “in or around the tub or shower”, so we’d like to share with you some reminders of how to stay comfortable and safe at bath time.

  • Add grab bars that are easy to see on the side of the bathtub and near the toilet.
  • Keep towels and other trip hazards off the bathroom floor.
  • Use nonslip mats and strips in the tub.
  • Utilize nonslip rugs or add double-sided tape to keep rugs secure.
  • Make sure that the bathroom and hallways have bright lighting.
  • While hot baths are beneficial overall, soaking in a hot water bath raises a person’s heart rate.  For those individuals with cardiovascular concerns, it is best to check with their doctor about using a hot soak for health benefits.

While these tips are important to help ensure safe bathing, they should not scare people off of hot baths, which can have many beneficial effects for seniors.  They can provide stress relief and tranquility, and offer many other positive outcomes.

  • Baths can lower blood sugar even more effective than exercise.
  • They can soothe aching muscles and joints, providing an anti-inflammatory benefit.
  • Hot baths lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
  • Adding bubbles, oatmeal, or essential oils can improve skin health, especially for eczema sufferers.

We hope all these tips help make bathtime enjoyable for seniors.  Let us know any other benefits or suggestions you come across!