Preventing Falls & Maintaining the Safety of Seniors
As temperatures drop, we become increasingly concerned about the safety of our older loved ones. Falling is one of the most common causes of injury for seniors, making it a priority to prevent.
These incidents are complex, making it difficult to prevent them entirely. Fortunately, recent research and resources have brought to light new approaches for equipping seniors and caregivers in preventing falls, and more importantly, injuries from those falls.
Sometimes, the fear of falling actually causes a fall. A senior can be so focused on not tripping or falling that they end up hitting a hip on the countertop corner or slipping on hidden black ice. Here are some simple steps that can be taken to combat this fear.
- Rate My Treads is a fantastic online tool out of Toronto that was built by clinicians, engineers, scientists, researchers, and students to help prevent falls due to poor footwear. Find out how your aging loved ones’ footwear measures up or start shopping for a trusted top-ranked shoe.
- If your loved one lives independently, take steps to modify their home. You might be surprised at what puts a senior at risk for falling, such as storing appliances on high shelves. Check out our trusted service providers for local skilled trades providers you can trust for any renovations needed
- An annual eye exam is a significant proactive step to minimizing risk for seniors. The risk of developing an eye condition increases with age, making it very important to stay on top of any possible vision impairments to prevent falls.
- Invest in a medical alert system or fall detection device to minimize your anxiety and your aging loved ones’ fear. Knowing that they have access to help at all times will decrease the risk of a fall becoming worse than necessary. Some great options include:
More and more research is coming out supporting dual-tasking fitness as the key to preventing falls for seniors. The point is not to fall in the first place, which is why dual-tasking activities have shown to strengthen balance, cognitive function, physical strength, and multitasking. A fall does not occur when a senior is focused on balancing in a fitness class; a fall occurs when a senior is focused on something else, leading to the loss of balance. Consider introducing the following workouts into your loved one’s routine for only 10 minutes a day:
- Answering trivia while holding a chair and kicking one leg backward at a time
- Playing memory games while using a chair and balancing on one leg
- Completing Sudoku or a crossword while using the stationary bike
Did you know falls can be a symptom of an underlying health issue such as a urinary tract infection, lack of sleep, arthritis, nutrient deficiency, dehydration, or overactive bladder? This can add to the complexities of fall risks, making it more important than ever for seniors to take their wellness seriously.
With your loved one and a medical professional, consider reviewing the following:
Having issues tackling these topics because of residential location, transportation, motivation, confidence, or social connections? Below are some solutions to get started!
- Local community centre workout classes
- Local game clubs for bridge, chess, trivia, or cards
- Many hospitals offer community resources for free mental health groups and low-cost counseling
- Revamp nutrition according to health risks for optimal health while aging
- Find an activity they love like swimming or golfing
Senior living communities offer in-house services that are specifically created for seniors. This allows no risk of driving long distances to differing locations for each. The British Columbia Seniors Living Association has a member directory with over 175 members committed to the safety and health of aging adults.