Did you know that each year, there are 46 million falls for older adults in the United States? That is a number that is simply too high. When it comes to your senior loved one in home care, one thing is certain: You want only the very best for them! Compassionate and experienced caregivers are a must. Superior care services are necessary. But you should also make your senior’s safety in their own home a top priority! The best thing you can do is to reduce hazards in their home, so they are less likely to injure themselves by taking a fall, for example. Falls are not a normal part of aging. You can keep on your feet and avoid the risk of a fall through a few lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of Balance Disorders in Seniors
If your loved one has a balance disorder, they may stagger when they try to walk, or teeter or fall when they try to stand up. You might notice other symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Falling or feeling as if you are going to fall
- Lightheadedness, faintness, or a floating sensation
- Blurred vision
- Confusion or disorientation
Read our top 10 tips for minimizing fall risks for seniors below.
1. Know Their Risk Factors for possible falls.
A doctor can perform a wellness assessment to examine any existing conditions, like vision impairment, arthritis, or memory loss, that can contribute to falls. Be sure to keep up on vision appointments and have your feet checked at least once per year, especially if you have diabetes or nerve problems.
2. Help Them Exercise to increase balance.
Regular exercise can help keep your senior strong and build their endurance! Physical fitness is great fall prevention because it helps keep the muscles needed for balance active and engaged. Go for walks (and keep your head up, don’t stare at your feet), lift weights, or do yoga for added balance training.
3. Check for issues with balance.
Ask their doctor to perform a balance test. Falls can often occur due to imbalance issues, which can be caused by things like low blood pressure, stroke, or even viral infections.
4. Inspect the home for fall hazards.
Make sure your senior’s home is truly safe from fall hazards! You can get a fall-specific inspection done by a professional senior care provider or aging life care professional. Watch for things like cords in walkways, clutter around chairs or beds, or too much furniture to maneuver around. Keeping areas well lit, and using non-slip mats, is another great way to lessen the chances of falls around the home.
5. Review their medications.
It is a good idea to have a doctor review a list of your senior’s medication. This can prevent any unwanted side effects due to combined medications. If you are experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness, vertigo, or any other unusual symptoms when taking a new medication, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away. Don’t wait until you fall to take action.
6. Get their vision checked regularly.
Getting regular vision exams is a great idea for your senior. This will keep their eyesight healthy and let you know that they can see their surroundings clearly. Cataracts and glaucoma can greatly affect a senior’s vision, don’t wait until it is a major problem to address.
7. Give them proper nutrition.
For better muscle and bone strength, make sure your senior is getting the right nutrients from their diet! Talk with their doctor about any helpful supplements they could/should be taking for bone and muscle strength like vitamin D, calcium, or magnesium.
8. Use walking aids to keep your balance.
A cane or walker can be a great tool for mobility when used properly and fitted correctly. Don’t be too proud to use these devices, they could save your life.
9. Avoid distracted walking.
Get rid of any distractions while walking, including making rules like “no walking with a smartphone”. If they are having a hard time walking pets, be sure to have a companion or caregiver accompany them to help do the walking.
10 Consider home care services.
To be extra sure that your senior is staying safe at home, add on home care services to their routine. A caregiver can be with them to help them get from point A to point B when their balance is declining, or to simply be there to walk with them as a companion. A little help can go a long way in your piece of mind that they are okay by themselves.
If your senior’s balance is declining, it may be time to consider home care. When you are ready to schedule your consultation to learn more about our senior care services, reach out to our expert caregivers at Home Care Assistance of Dayton and the surrounding areas! We are here for you at any time.
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