Prepare the Way
Floor areas and stairs should be free of anything that could cause someone to trip and fall. Though it may seem overly simplistic, carefully removing all tripping hazards from the floors in every room, including phone cords, scatter rugs, boxes, books, clothing, shoes, etc... is the first line of defense in preventing falls in the elderly. This is important even in rooms such as the laundry room that is generally off the beaten path for most elderly.
Another way to prepare the way for seniors is to be sure to have things used or frequently needed within reach. For example, if your aging senior is home during the day you may want to prepare their breakfast and lunch and place them in the refrigerator or on the counter before leaving for work in the morning. Keeping an additional roll of toilet paper in the bathroom will prevent them from unnecessary trips to the linen closet.
Providing your senior with bed rails, fall prevention socks and elastic shoe laces are three other great ways to prevent falls and subsequent painful complications such as broken bones. For seniors with good hand control/fine motor skills, providing them with a 'Reacher' tool to help them reach things they need on an upper shelf may also be helpful. These are just a few helpful specialty fall prevention aids available today that can be easily ordered online.
Regular Doctor Visits
Since falls may be caused by fluctuations in blood pressure, trans-ischemic attacks also known as (TIA's), strokes or even by taking certain medications, regular doctor visits for seniors are important and extremely helpful in early detection of a problem. With careful monitoring of blood pressure, medications, and overall status, proactive, preventive healthcare can easily be implemented before there is a problem that causes a fall with complications.
Regular activity is very beneficial in the promotion of good balance, and enhancing muscle strength and stamina. The rule of thumb here is to not overdo it, but to keep moving as much as possible to prevent muscle weakness. Gentle stretches that focus on enhancing trunk, arm and leg strength, together with walking for cardiac health, go a long way in the development of strong muscles and the prevention of broken bones from falls.
Depending on their condition, walking daily for short periods with another person once or twice a day is an especially good way to strengthen muscles and promote good balance for many aging seniors, and to promote socialization at the same time. Of course, be sure to confer with your doctor before starting any exercise program of any kind.
Use Assistive Devices When Needed
In the event that your doctor determines that your aging senior is at high risk for a fall, he or she may prescribe an assistive device depending on your symptoms and risk factors. This device may be a standard cane, a quad cane, a 3 wheeled walker, a 4 wheeled walker, also called a rollator, or even less frequently, a wheelchair.
Fall prevention takes a little effort and forethought, but the benefits for aging seniors and their caregivers are significant. As you can see, by following these few simple steps, you can prevent falls and thereby avert serious medical complications. Working proactively to keep our seniors safe from falls is priority one for caregivers, as it allows them the freedom to enjoy their later years in optimal health and wellness.