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Falls and the elderly – what we can do

Young woman helping elderly person to walk with a crutch

Falls are a real hazard for senior citizens, but here’s the good news: They can be prevented. Risks can be minimized, and hazards can be eliminated.

Recently we discussed the factors—intrinsic, extrinsic and situational—that increase fall risks for the elderly. As it turns out, there is an antidote for each.

For example,

  • To combat the loss of balance and muscle strength, you can exercise regularly, take up balance-improving regimens such as tai chi, and be certain to wear stable shoes.
  • To combat dizziness and focus attention, pause before moving; waiting gives the body time to adjust to a change in position. It also never hurts to have a medical professional review your medications, both prescription and nonprescription.
  • To strengthen your vision, make certain you have the right prescription for your glasses and contact lenses. If you have cataracts or glaucoma, having them treated will also improve your vision.
  • Make sure your home is well lit, inside and out, including steps. It also helps when light switches are easy to reach and easy to use.
  • Keep electric cords out of walkways. Cords can, for instance, be tacked above doorways, and the addition of electrical outlets may also help.
  • Make certain throw rugs are either tacked down or taped down. If the rug is torn or frayed, toss it out (or at least get it off the floor).
  • Place cordless phones around the house, so that you don’t have to run to get the phone.
  • If you’re unsteady standing, a shower chair can help a great deal.

It also helps to have an expert look through your home to identify risk factors for falls and provide or suggest a solution to each. Stay at Home owners have training and experience to help keep you safe. Please give us a call if you think we might be able to help you.

And please, be careful out there.

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