30% of Australians over 65 experience at least one fall per year. Of course, it’s the fall related injuries that worry us most, but even without injury, a fall leaves an older person shaken. A fear of it happening again can lead to them avoiding walking around – and being sedentary leads to further physical and mental decline.
You can help to prevent an elderly person falling by being aware of the factors that lead to falls. These include;
- Older people may stop exercising due to a physical condition (eg arthritis) and a lack of exercise results in decreased bone mass, loss of muscle strength and loss of balance and co-ordination.
- Age-related impaired vision can prevent an older person from seeing hazards like steps or thresholds.
- Some medications may cause dizziness
- Chronic conditions (eg stoke, diabetes) can affect function.
Some tips for making things safer are;
- If there is concern about general dizziness or balance, consult a health care provider who will assess risks and suggest programs or services that will help.
- Ensure any glasses prescriptions are current.
- Be aware that tint-changing lenses can be dangerous if going from bright sun to a darker environment, and that bifocals can be a problem on stairs, so keep a firm hand on them if they are negotiating either scenario.
- Do a walk-through of their home to ensure lighting and stairs are as safe as possible. Install railings in the bath tub, shower and near the toilet.
- Keep track of their medicines and side effects – if a medication is making them dizzy, discuss alternatives with their doctor.
Careseekers has created a free Home Safety Checklist to help you make an older person’s home as safe as possible. It should only take an hour or two to go through the checklist -it’s aimed at making the home safe for people who have common health issues associated with ageing, such as eyesight or hearing loss, or difficulties with balance.
The checklist goes through:
General Home Safety tips
Tips for those hard of hearing
Tips for older people living in multi-level homes
Tips for older people with poor eyesight
Download the free checklist here
Remember, taking the right precautions is the key to mitigating fall risks for an older person.
Do you need help with care for an elderly person? Find a care worker near you with Careseekers, an official independent Home Care Package provider. We provide flexible, affordable in-home support through our network of registered care workers. All of our workers are independent and free to negotiate rates and schedules that suit both of you.