Ways To Prevent Falls For Elderly People (Proven Tips)
As people age the risk of falls and injuries from those falls goes up exponentially. In fact, one of the main causes of injuries in people over the age of 65 are falls. This not only causes elderly people pain and suffering but also leads to a loss of independence which can be frustrating and demoralizing for some.
Falls can happen for a variety of reasons and can vary from person to person. However, there are some general tips and tricks to help you prevent hurting yourself when you fall and some to help you avoid falling altogether.
Common Reasons for Falls
People fall down all of the time no matter their age. However, elderly people tend to fall down for specific reasons other than the occasional misstep or loss of balance. Sure, these reasons can apply, too, but elderly people tend to fall down for more than those reasons. Some falls are due to illnesses while others can be from the effects of aging or even medications. Three of the more popular causes for falls in the elderly are:
Conditions similar to those listed here may also lead to things like fainting which will obviously cause you to fall down if the spell comes on suddenly. Other causes of falls in the elderly can simply be the normal effects of aging. As people get older, their bodies change and muscles get weaker. When the muscles are fatigued and weak even the simplest things like walking or climbing stairs can be taxing.
This weakens the muscles even more and can lead to falls. Stiff muscles and joints can also lead to a lack of mobility and general weakness that can make falls more likely. Similarly, your eyesight gets worse naturally as you age. This can cause you to lose depth perception or cause dizziness which can lead to unpredictable falls.
There are also non-medical reasons behind the commonality of falls in elderly people. These issues usually coincide with medical or biological issues, however. For example, dim lit rooms or wet floors can lead to falls because of the aforementioned weak muscles and possibly impaired balance. Loose carpets or throw rugs that aren’t properly secured can also make you trip and lead to falls. This is a problem for elderly people who might not be able to properly lift their feet and rely on shuffling more than actually walking. Standing on stepstools or ladders can also lead to falls.
Another common cause of falls in the elderly are the side effects of medications. A lot of different medications including standard blood pressure medications can cause things like dizziness, fainting, tingling in the lower limbs, or blurred vision that can lead to falls. This is something that is sometimes uncontrollable since side effects aren’t universal.
While some of these reasons for falls are unpredictable and uncontrollable, there are things that you can do to prevent falls. By following some tips and making some changes in your daily life you can feel more secure moving around independently.
Tips For Preventing Falls
Even though you’re more prone to falls as an older adult, you don’t have to resolve yourself to that. There are things that you can do to help stay active and mobile without fearing potential falls. From taking care of your body to making changes around your home, here are some tips to help prevent falls.
Speak to your doctor about your vitamin levels, especially your calcium levels. If they’re lower than they should be, talk to your doctor about taking vitamin supplements. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help keep your bones stronger so if you do fall down you can avoid serious injuries.
#2.Check your vision
Since a lot of falls are from poor vision or the dizziness that comes from weak eyesight, having your eyes checked periodically can help. If you’re diagnosed with a disorder that affects your eyesight, try not to do things that can harm you if you can’t see properly or get dizzy. For example, if you have cataracts that affect your vision, don’t climb ladders since your line of sight can be altered causing you to miss a rung and falling.
#3.Check your hearing
Your balance and equilibrium are directly related to your ears and hearing. By seeing an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat doctor you can check to see if there are any problems with your inner ear that are causing you to lose your balance or get dizzy. By treating those issues you can help restore your balance and help prevent falls. You can at least be made aware of the issues so that you can make better decisions in your everyday life to prevent falls.
#4.Take care of your feet
A lot of times elderly people will wear shoes slightly bigger than necessary because of foot problems like bunions, corns, or swelling. Loose shoes can cause you to fall down because you may tend to shuffle your feet more than you pick up your feet when you walk.This can cause you to lose your balance and fall down. By taking care of your feet you’ll be able to wear your normal shoes and avoid issued while walking.
#5.Be cautious of dizziness
If you feel dizzy frequently because of medications or other issues, be conscious of this and don’t dismiss it as a mild inconvenience. Take your time standing up and moving around once upright. If you feel dizzy, wait for the feeling to pass before walking. If the dizziness is severe, see your doctor about this and get treatment for it.
#6.Eat properly and stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is paramount to general good health. Staying hydrated will help you with dizziness and fatigue especially in hot weather. Eating a proper diet will keep your blood sugar levels stable so you won’t get lightheaded. Healthy foods can also give you the proper vitamins and nutrients to keep you as strong as you can be.
There are also things you can do around your home to prevent falls and injuries, especially if you live alone. For starters, if you have a medical condition or take medication that causes fainting or falls, consider getting an alert device that you can use to get emergency help if you do fall while you’re home alone. Similarly, you should set some kind of plan with a family member, neighbor, or close friend. You can have them check in on you periodically to make sure you’re ok so if you do fall and are incapacitated (like hitting your head) you can be found before things get worse.
You can also learn how to keep your balance around your home and while you’re out and about. Here are some options:
You should also talk to your doctor about your medications and see if there are other options that won’t make you more of a fall risk. At the very least, always make sure that your doctor talks to you about the side effects of your medications so you’re aware of any potential problems like dizziness, blurred vision, or balance problems. By knowing about these potential issues, you can be more cautious in your daily life.
By following these tips you can prevent falls from happening often. For the falls or fainting spells that are unpredictable and uncontrollable, you can at least be better equipped to handle them or at least have a plan in place for someone to find you and help you.
In most cases, falls are preventable in older adults. There are plenty of things that you can do to make sure you don’t trip over things or get lightheaded from a lack of nutrients. However, everyone is different and what might help one person may not help the next. It’s always best to talk to your doctor if you have health concerns or questions about your medication, but always be proactive in your home and daily life to help yourself. These tips are a good starting point to help you regain your independence and confidence while moving around.