Protect Your Loved Ones From Falling
By: Gloria Neault, MSN, RN, Program Manager-Healthy Aging
Every second of every day an older adult falls.
Many falls cause injury, loss of independence, and in some cases, death. Falls can be prevented. As a family caregiver, you can help!
Talk openly with your loved one and their healthcare provider about fall risks and prevention.
- Tell a healthcare provider right way if your loved one has fallen, or if they are worried about falling, or seem unsteady.
- Keep an up-to-date list of your loved one’s medications. Show a healthcare provider or pharmacist all of their medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements. Discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy.
- Ask their healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements to improve bone, muscle and nerve health.
Activities that improve balance and strengthening legs (like Tai Chi) can prevent falls.
- Exercise and movement also make your loved one feel better and more confident.
- Check with their healthcare provider about the best type of exercise program for them.
- Find a class through your local Agency on Aging.
Have Eyes and Feet Checked
Being able to see and walk comfortably can prevent falls.
- Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
- Replace eyeglasses as needed.
- Have their healthcare provider check their feet once per year.
- Discuss proper footwear, and ask whether seeing a foot specialist is advised.
Make the Home Safe
Most falls happen at home.
- Keep floors clutter free.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom – next to and inside the tub, and next to the toilet.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Make sure the home has lots of light.
- Use this Check for Safety checklist to find and fix hazards in the home.
- Other resources include your local Agency on Aging and StopFalls
You don't have to do this on your own! The Stay Independent tool can help start the conversation with others who can help.
Contact your local Agency on Aging or community senior center for information on exercise, fall prevention programs, or options for improving home safety.
If you would like more information on this, or any other health related topic, the Health Educators at the Learning Resource Center are happy to help. They provide trusted & reliable health information and connect people to local resources in the community. Connect with a health educator today! Be well, be well-informed.