Every second, a U.S. senior 65 years or older falls. In fact, out of every four adults in this age group, one will fall each year. Unfortunately, accidents like this are one of the top causes of injury or death for seniors. To make matters worse, some might slip and be unharmed by the impact, but then don’t have the strength to get back up, and no one is around to help. Ultimately, falls can happen anywhere – while on the go, outside during inclement weather, or inside one’s own home. Besides potentially causing injuries, this is one of the leading causes of seniors losing their independent living.
The good news – there is a lot that can be done to stop falls from happening in the first place. Before this can be done, the first step is to identify signs that someone may be at risk. If you suspect a parent or loved one may be unsteady on their feet, or you’re worried about his or her safety at home, keep reading to learn 3 signs that may indicate someone is at risk of falling and what you can do to help.
If you notice a loved one’s personal hygiene is being neglected, there is likely a good reason behind it. Since the bathroom is one of the most common places in which falls occur inside the home, it makes sense that the senior in your life may be avoiding it. With sleek floor tiles, a slippery tub, and hard surfaces, it’s no wonder accidents occur in the bathroom. That, or maybe a loved one simply doesn’t have the strength to get up and shower or is unable to safely toilet themselves. That being said, hygiene is a necessary part of ensuring overall physical and mental health and wellbeing, so it’s important that your loved one is able to safely use his or her bathroom. Try using tread rugs and mats, a shower chair, grab bars, and even a nightlight to help improve safety in the bathroom. After all, your loves ones should feel comfortable in their own home.
A poor diet can cause low or high blood pressure and balance problems, which can possibly result in falls. Unfortunately, poor diet is extremely common – in general, diet quality among older adults in the U.S. has decreased from 2001 to 2018. Watch for the following signs that may indicate if your loved one is undereating, overeating, or simply eating an unhealthy diet:
- Weight or muscle loss
- Smaller portion sizes or disinterest in eating
- Weakness and fatigue
- Impaired cognitive function (such as difficulty remembering if they took their medications)
- Bloating and gas
- Increased high cholesterol or high blood pressure
It’s important to first identify if a loved one may be struggling with poor nutrition and have a heightened risk of falling. From there, simple dietary changes can be implemented to gain strength and reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Watch How Someone Stands Up or Sits Down
If your loved one seems to experience difficulty standing up from a sitting position or sitting down from a standing position, he or she may be more likely to suffer from a fall. For further reassurance, you can conduct a “30-Second Chair Stand Assessment,” during which time your loved one will see how many times he or she can stand up and sit down within a 30-second period. In this scenario, a lower number may indicate a higher risk.
Lifeguard Can Help
If you’re worried your mom or dad may be at risk of falling, try not to stress – there are a number of resources available to you, including Lifeguard. Our team of physical therapists evaluates a person’s safety at home and determines their fall risk, then develops an improvement plan complete with recommended strengthening exercises. Lifeguard also utilizes fall detection and location tracking software, to provide additional peace of mind. For more information, contact us today.