The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reports that, for seniors over age 65, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries. While most falls are minor, once an elderly person falls once, more falls usually follow, increasing the risk of more severe injuries each time.
What do you do to prevent elderly loved ones from falling or help them through any fall injuries, and problems with bone strength, balance, gait, or overall confidence? We will guide you through some helpful tips before your parent or loved one completely loses their independence after a severe fall.
Causes of Elderly Falls
Seniors are at a higher risk for slips and falls for a number of reasons, including:
- Aging health conditions, like deteriorating eyesight, declining muscle strength, nervous system disorders, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Unsafe living conditions that could increase fall risks, such as rooms cluttered with objects in the way, wet floors, or improper lighting.
- Lack of walking assistance equipment, including canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and supportive handrails in the bedrooms and bathroom.
- Medication side effects, which could cause drowsiness and dizziness, contributing to an increased chance of falling.
How do You Help an Elderly Person Who Has Fallen?
There are several steps to ensure safety protocol when an elderly loved one has suffered from a fall. Here are a few good tips to follow:
- First, see if the older adult can get up on their own, slowly and carefully; if they cannot, aid them in getting up.
- Check for injuries; if the elder cries out in pain when moved, call for an ambulance, while you help them remain still and calm.
- If they can stand up on their own, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on them for 24 hours, as seniors sometimes hide an injury out of embarrassment.
- If this is not the first time the elder has fallen, schedule a visit to their family physician, who is trained to look for any underlying conditions that could have caused the fall. Bring a list of their medications and notes for the doctor on whether or not you have noticed any changes to your loved one’s health.
How Can You Prevent an Elderly Person’s Future Falls?
Preventative measures can be taken to avoid future falls for an elderly person to improve their health, which should include:
- Making ongoing visits to medical professionals, such as an ophthalmologist for vision and a podiatrist to check that proper footwear is being worn for the best balance.
- Inspecting the senior’s surroundings for dangerously low lighting, trip hazards on the floor, and anything obstructing doorways.
- Training your elderly loved one to use a cane or walker.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney
If your elder loved one has suffered from a fall while a resident at a nursing home, contact elder abuse attorney Joel Bryant, who has more than 30 years of experience representing hundreds of clients in San Diego.
Bryant is here for you and your family, too, to discuss how to successfully take action and fight for justice for your elderly loved one’s protection.