Falls constitute the leading cause of injury

For the elderly, the odds of falling each year are about 1:3 (33%). Good odds if you’re looking to win a lottery; not very good odds if you’re a senior or care for a senior and want them to stay safe and healthy. My father took a tumble two weeks ago, falling on his shoulder. His entire arm is black & blue from bruising, and he still can’t lift his arm above his shoulder. No broken bones, but not very comfortable, either. And for a guy who never complains, he says this “hurts”.

There may be many, many reasons for falls leading to injury, and injury-related deaths among older adults. Perhaps dizziness, medications, or general balance issues. Or Parkinson’s related muscle deterioration. Loss of eyesight. Lower body issues related to hips, knees, ankles, feet, and swelling. Fortunately, many falls are preventable.

See a Physician

To reduce the likelihood of side effects from medications and to maintain overall health, make an appointment to see a physician(s). Have the doctor review all your medications for possible side effects and interactions that could increase the risk of falling. Speak to the doctor about any eye or ear problems that may increase the risk. Discuss questions about balance, numbness, dizziness and joint pain. (Always ask questions!) Many times, seniors don’t want to “see the doctor” because they instinctively understand they are going to be reprimmanded. Having a companion for the appointment can help clarify and understand issues, as well as provide guidance to initiating new habits and routines.

Exercise is Good For Seniors!

Keep elders active as they age is very, very positive. It is only through exercise and activity that people will maintain and improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility and gait. People who are in good shape are less likely to fall. With many of our clients, Home Care Partner’s staff take the time to “go for a walk”. This helps us to keep our clients active, and moving. We don’t want elders sitting all day long. I know this may sound a bit like the “chicken or the egg” dilemma. To paraphrase…“if I’m not comfortable walking and fear falling, how/why should I walk more often?” But the truth is simple. Keeping your muscles relatively strong necessitates using them! If you don’t maintain some level of activity, your muscles will naturally weaken. This may sound like “work”, but it is worth the effort. And we can provide the staff to make sure we follow simple safety procedures.

Where the Feet Meet the Ground

Wear sensible shoes. Many seniors have foot and ankle issues. Sensitivity, swelling, and fraility. Stay away from accidents waiting to happen such as high heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles that can make you slip, stumble and fall. Shoes can provide some stability around your feet and ankles, as well as providing a stable platform for balance. Avoid shoes with extra-thick soles and choose lace up shoes instead of slip-ons (and make sure to tie the laces).