Fall River Jewish Home

Fall Prevention: Separating Fact from Fiction

According to the National Council on Aging, one in three elderly people fall each year. That is a frightening number if you are the caregiver of an aging loved one. Falls are the number one cause of injury for people over 65 years of age.

What Can You Do to Keep an Aging Loved One from Falling?

The aging experts at Fall River Jewish Home offer Massachusetts caregivers the following tips to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to falls and the elderly:

  • Exercise. It seems counter to what you would believe, but exercise is important to fall prevention. Flexibility and muscle strength are necessary to maintain balance and coordination. That can only be achieved with an exercise and strength training regime of some kind.
  • “I’m Safe at Home.” This is another common myth seniors accept as reality. Talk with any emergency room physician or nurse, however, and they will tell you otherwise. The majority of falls happen at home. Bathrooms and stairways can be dangerous places in the house. The AARP Home Fit Guide (http://www.aota.org/documentvault/documents/41878.aspx) is a great resource to help families fall proof an older adult’s home.
  • Walkers and Canes Decrease Independence. This is another myth. Both can help the elderly maintain mobility and keep them safely on the move for longer. A word of caution from the experts at NCOA. Make sure they know how to safely use these devices. It may require a visit with licensed physical therapist.
  • Monitor Medication Side Effects. This one is fact. Some medications may cause dizziness. It might also be that a combination of medications working

together can cause a loved one to be unsteady. Talk with your loved one’s physician or pharmacist if you suspect that might be a problem. They may be able to make adjustments to dosages or prescribe a new medication.

The National Council on Aging kicked off an initiative to keep seniors free from falls in 2013. You can join families across the country on Facebook
(http://www.facebook.com/NCOAging/posts/463829627018282) and share one thing you are doing to keep your loved one safe this year.

Are you a family caregiver of an older adult at risk for falls? What one thing will you do this week to help decrease their risk? Please share in the ‘comments’ section below.

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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