How To Prevent Falls
Preventing Falls among the Elderly a Key Consideration for Aging Health
Older Adult Falls
According to the New England Journal of Medicine,
"Falls account for 10% of emergency department visits and 6% of hospitalizations among persons over the age of 65."
With all the other injuries and maladies that impact the elderly and aging it's no wonder that education about preventing falls among the elderly are taking center stage for the time being. Prevention, after all, is the best cure.
Wondering what you can do to help prevent falls in the elderly in your life or to reduce your own risk for falls?
Begin by working on these preventative measures.
1. Install hand rails, grab rails, and hand-held shower head in the bathroom. For further preventative measures consider getting non-slip bathtub mats and a bench or stool designed for use in the shower. Installing a liquid soap dispenser on the wall is another way to prevent falls from slippery soap that may get dropped on the shower or bathtub floor.
2. Build stronger bones and muscles. One of the reasons that falls are so common is that muscles grow weak with age and inactivity. The reason they are often so devastating is that the bones of the elderly are often brittle and weak. Build stronger bones by making sure you get plenty of calcium in your diet and take supplements if necessary. In addition to calcium make sure you get plenty of vitamin D (which helps your body absorb the calcium). For stronger muscles add a few weight bearing exercises to your daily routine. You don't have to become a championship body builder to enjoy results that can greatly improve your quality of life.
3. Eliminate environmental hazards in your home. These hazards are in every room and even on the outside of your home. Some of the changes you can make to prevent falls among the elderly include making sure all stairs and steps have properly installed handrails, ensuring proper lighting in all rooms, getting rid of loose rugs and carpets, covering all electrical cords that might create obstacles, and eliminating clutter.
These small changes can have a huge impact on your health and well being. If you're working to prevent falls among the elderly for family, friends, or for yourself these few tips will help you get off on the right foot.
Nothing you do will eliminate every conceivable possibility. Because of that it's important that you consider purchasing a home medical alarm for an added layer of defense. Falls happen despite the best efforts to avoid them. A home medical alarm can help get the fast help that is needed for a prompt recovery when they do.
Making Homes Safe
Making Homes Safe for Elderly Parents Living Alone
You want the best for your elderly parent living alone. While you may think it is best for your parent to live with you or in some sort of supervised care facility or capacity it may mean the world to your parent to maintain independence to whatever degree is possible. This means that you need to help your parent be as independent as possible for as long as possible.
What can you do help your aging parent remain independent and ensure that your parent is living in a safe environment?
1) Make sure hearing won't be a problem. Many elderly patients also have hearing problems. They may not be able to hear oven bells ding, door bells ring, or even the fire alarm going off. There are things you can do that will assist your parent in noticing these things to avoid potential safety hazards. One thing is installing devices that are created specifically for the hearing impaired. They have them for doorbells, telephones, and even alarm clocks that notify them by strobe lights in different colors.
2) Carbon monoxide detector. This is a good idea for all homes and one that isn't often thought of when planning a safer environment with elderly parents. Place it in a well traveled location and make sure that you test the carbon monoxide detector every time you test your smoke detector.
3) Lighting. In addition to bright lights to keep the home well lit you should also make sure there are plenty of night lights to help your elderly parent find the way around the house at night without turning on every light. Nightlights have little impact on the electric bill (when compared to overhead lights) and can help parents avoid slips and falls late at night.
4) Emergency plan. Your parent needs to know what to do, who to call, and where to go in case of an emergency. This is one of the most important aspects to follow up on for your parent if he or she wishes to live alone. Emergencies happen but having a plan makes them much less traumatic.
In addition to planning for the usual emergencies related to fire and weather you need to have a plan for medical emergencies as well. A home medical alert system is a great way to plan for potential medical emergencies your parent might have while home alone.
Caring For Elderly Parents
Caring For Elderly Parents
Caring for elderly parents may feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place sometimes. On the one hand this is the person you love who has loved you through thick and thin throughout your life. On the other hand the care giver from your childhood is now in the position of the one being cared for. It's a type of role reversal that may be met with more than a little bit of unhappiness on the part of the parent who is frustrated with new physical limitations not to mention loosing a huge sense of independence and autonomy.
What can you do to make the transition a little easier for everyone involved?
1) Go to great lengths to make your elderly parent feel like a welcome addition to your home. More importantly, make your parent feel like a contributing member to your home. This will do more things than you'll realize at first to benefit your parent. First, it will give them a sense of purpose rather than feeling like an unwanted addition to the household. Second, it will help ease the tension to keep your parent busy (and away from the highly coveted remote control).
2) Eliminate hazards from the home. Making your home a safe haven for your elderly parent is a great way to make your parent feel welcome. You want to make sure that there are grab bars in the bathroom, clear pathways in the hallway and living room for greater maneuverability, and remove any clutter that could provide a trip and fall hazard.
3) Encourage good healthy habits. The trick is in finding a way to do it without sounding judgmental or parental. Remember that your parent still views you as the child. He or she isn't likely to take too kindly to suddenly being 'parented' by you. Instead try to get your parent to help your child with exercise or eating good foods. You'll be amazed at how well the grandchild card works.
4) Offer plenty of privacy. Privacy is golden for your parent. While your parent may need some sort of supervision he or she also needs a little time alone on occasion to help sort through emotions.
5) Get access to community organizations like the National Family Caregivers Association that exist to offer help for those who care for the elderly and aging. They have some amazing resources in place to help the process as painful as process for you and the parent you're caring for.
Do these things and you'll enjoy a much smoother transition for you and your parent. Also realize that if you can't be there to care for your parent every minute of the day a medical alert system provides an excellent second line of defense if something happens to your parent while you're away.