National Falls Prevention Awareness Week is September 20-24.
September 27, 2021
Most of us know someone elderly who has fallen and sustain an injury, maybe even a family member or loved one. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to prevent all the possible ways that people can fall, truth is we can’t anticipate or prevent all falls.
Here are some things we can do to drastically reduce our fall risk according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA):
1) Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe – If your loved one has a concern about falling, dizziness or balance, invite them to speak with their provider who can recommend them for help to address these issues.
2) Discuss their current health conditions – Can your loved on manage their own health, medications and daily tasks? Make sure they are taking advantage of preventative benefits now offered by Medicare, such as Annual Wellness visits.
3) Ask about their last eye checkup – Make eye checkup’s routine. Make sure prescriptions are current. Allow time for transition lenses to adjust to changes in light. Bifocals can be problematic on stairs, be careful and use handrails.
4) Notice if they’re holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking or if they appear to have difficulty walking or arising from a chair – These are signs you may need to see a physical therapist to improve balance and strength. Use a cane or walker adjusted to the correct height (stand with arm down to their side, the handle on the device should be level with the person’s wrist).
5) Talk about their medications – Discuss medications that cause balance issues or dizziness with your pharmacist and beware of non-prescription medications that contain sleep aids, including pain killers with “PM” in their name.
6) Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home – Check lighting throughout the house, particularly around stairs and the path to the bathroom at night. Make sure there are 2 secure rails on stairs. Install grab bars in showers and near toilets. Purchase a shower chair.