As noted in a previous Home Care Assistance post, in Canada alone, one in three seniors over the age of 65 is likely to fall at least once. What’s more, 85% of injury-related hospitalizations involve seniors, incurring more than $2 billion a year in estimated costs for the Canadian health care system.While it’s unclear why fall-related incidents are on the rise, health scientist Elizabeth Burns, who works under the Center of Disease Control’s Injury Center, posits that it may be related to the growing number of older people living with chronic conditions and taking medications for them. And so as fall incidence rates reach unprecedented heights, additional efforts must be put in place by the people responsible for caring for seniors, especially if the patient in question is receiving care at home. After all, caring for the elderly at home is much more difficult than caring for them in an establishment dedicated to seniors. There’s a disparity in the resources available, so in-home caregivers must take extra measures to reduce falls.
To help your loved one reduce the risk of falls, consider these tips:
Remove home hazards
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health notes that environmental hazards in homes can make the elderly more susceptible to falls. Furthermore, since falls happen in places where people spend the most time, it was found that implementing home-oriented prevention strategies may be the most effective solution in reducing fall rates in older people. It’s important, then, to assess your home and make it a safer and more comfortable place to navigate. You can do things like remove items from walkways, move tables, racks, and stands from high-traffic areas, secure loose rugs with adhesives, fix damaged floorboards or carpeting, use nonslip mats in the bathroom, and more.
Introduce yoga into their routine
Yoga has long been known to help older people prevent falls. In a study published in the Pilot and Feasibility Studies journal, seniors practicing yoga experienced a slew of benefits, including an improved ability to rise from a chair, weight loss, increased step length, and reduced fear of falling, making yoga an effective fall prevention strategy. Since yoga involves moves that improve balance, seniors can do practice it as a fall prevention exercise. Additionally, as pointed out by Jane Adamson, yoga can also aid in alleviating depression, anxiety, and insomnia, improving the mental health of the practitioner and their quality of life.
Install assistive devices
Installing assistive devices at home can also help in preventing falls. While the doctor may recommend using a cane or walker to keep them steady, it would also help if you use other tools like handrails for both sides of stairways, grab bars for the shower or tub, and adding a sturdy seat in the bathroom to assist them in bathing. Raised toilet seats and bedside fall mats are also well-known assistive devices for falls.Helping the elderly prevent falls may be challenging—and at times, costly—but as long as you’re willing to offer them support, you can help them stay healthy and active for many years to come.For more ideas on how to help your loved one reduce the risk of falls or advice on how to offer better care for them at home, check out the Home Care Assistance blog.
Written for: homecareassistancemontreal.ca
Written by: Jackie Bayer