Frank McCarthy's Blog, Visiting Angels, Kilmarnock, VA

Prevent Falls at Home with 3 Easy Steps

Helping seniors prevent falls and injuries at home encourages long-term independence

Did you know that falls are the number one reason senior adults lose their independence? When seniors experience a fall, the repercussions can be devastating for their physical and emotional health. Many seniors become overly cautious, anti-social, and afraid after falling – especially if they were injured as a result.

As family members and caretakers, it can be frightening to learn that a loved one has fallen. You’re likely worried about leaving them alone and want to do more to ensure their safety, comfort, and well-being at home.

The first thing to understand is that falls don’t simply “happen”. There are reasons and circumstances that make seniors more like to experience falls. By following these simple steps, you can help your loved one reduce the risk of falls and promote independence at home for longer.

Understand the Impact of Falls

Falls are a traumatic event for both the senior experiencing the accident and for family members who are called in for support. Understanding how falls may impact your senior loved one is an important first step towards preventing them all together.

Physical Impact

Injuries are often the firs thing that comes to mind when thinking about the impact of falls. Surely all of us can recall a time – even in childhood – where a particularly hard fall left us with a bruised knee or scraped elbow.

For seniors, the physical injuries of a fall are much more serious than a few bumps and bruises. Hip fractures are the most coming injuries caused by falls, and can lead to long-term hospitalization, invasive surgery, and extensive physical rehab.

Fast Fact: Only 25% of all seniors who are physically injured as the result of a fall will make a full recovery.

Emotional Impact

Falls – and subsequent injuries – can take a huge toll on our loved ones’ emotional and mental health as well. Seniors are often fearful of falling again and may develop coping mechanisms to help prevent future accidents. What they may not realize is that these adjustments actually make them more likely to experience falls.

Seniors may avoid activities and interactions outside of their home, leading to isolation and loneliness. If a loved one falls while alone, the results could be devastating.

Some seniors begin shuffling their feet, focusing their vision on the ground when walking, or holding onto walls and furniture for balance. This actually worsens their balance and mobility, making it more likely that they fall.

Identify Fall Risk Factors

We can all agree now that falls are incredibly serious and can lead to a variety of negative outcomes for seniors. The next step is to learn how to identify fall risk factors so that you can best help your loved one prevent falls and injuries at home.

Here are a few things that may increase the risk of falls:

  • Chronic pain and arthritis that making moving joints painful
  • Changes in eyesight or hearing that make understanding one’s surroundings difficult
  • Loss of strength and flexibility due to inactivity
  • Poor circulation that causes decreased sensation in the feed
  • Dehydration or poor eating habits that lead to fatigue and confusion
  • Negative side effects from medications

We recommend that you first talk with your loved one’s doctor or medical provider if you’ve recognized these symptoms or behaviors. A doctor may advise changes to diet, exercise or medications to improve balance, flexibility, and mind clarity.

Once you have a clear understanding of what may cause falls, you will be in a better position to prevent them.

Find the Assistance You Need

If you’re concerned that a loved one may be a fall-risk, or if they’ve already experienced a fall and could use some support, consider home care from Visiting Angels. Our essential personal home care plans can be customized to meet your loved one’s needs and abilities, all while promoting independent living at home.

Our caregivers can assist with balance and mobility, from getting in and out f chairs, using the bathroom, and taking showers. Caregivers can provide monitoring, conversation, and help with all Activities of Daily Living. This can include:

  • Running errands, grocery shopping, and meal preparation
  • Medication and fluid reminders
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation to appointments and activities

Even the most independent of seniors can benefit from a it of help every now and then. If you’re interesting in learning more about Visiting Angels home care, please call our office in Kilmarnock, VA today!

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.