Staying safe around the house is important for everyone, but especially seniors, who may be facing health problems and limited mobility.
The National Council on Aging provides some prevention tips. Visit them at www.ncoa.org.
Common factors that lead to a fall
- Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
- Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
- Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
- Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
- Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
6 steps to reduce falls
Six easy steps you can take today to help your older loved one reduce their risk of a fall:
- Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.
- Discuss their current health conditions.
- Ask about their last eye checkup.
- 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.
- Talk about their medications.
- Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home.