It’s that time of year again and inevitable comparisons to taxes surface as one of those things that is just part of life. Aging is another life component we can all count on in the natural flow of things and as our golden years tick by, we start to move a little slower and simple, everyday chore can become far more difficult, or even impossible.
But old age doesn’t have to mean loss of independence and living out your remaining days in a state of convalescence. However, it is still very important to be aware of your strength and balance to stay safe; the potential for falling increases drastically for many seniors and even a “gentle” fall can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Did you know that one in four elderly Americans fall every year, and every 11 seconds a senior is treated in an emergency room due to a fall? Another concerning statistic is nearly 30,000 people die from falls every year.
Stumbling on a living room rug or getting a foot tangled in the vacuum cleaner cord are examples of common household accidents for seniors. While it might not sound all that dangerous, an ensuing fall can mean a broken bone and loss of mobility for a senior’s waning years.
That’s where an in-home caregiver comes in. There’s a lot to do in keeping a household operating as intended and the chore list doesn’t get any shorter as we get older. A large majority of seniors wish to remain in their own homes; unfortunately, even simple tasks like mopping the floor or hanging a picture carry the potential for falls. A professionally trained caregiver alleviates those risks while ensuring an overall safe home environment, along with companionship and other intangibles.
Why do seniors fall more often as they age?
Many factors contribute to falling in seniors. Often times a fall occurs due to loss of strength and balance from gradually deteriorating muscles. If a person struggles to simply walk around the house or get up from a chair without help, chances of falling increase tremendously.
Another common contributor to falls is clutter. We tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years and if not neatly and safely organized, a house in disarray is like a minefield of potential disaster.
In-home caregivers can help “fall-proof” a senior’s home by helping remove unnecessary clutter or at least clear a path along the person’s usual route, as well as assisting a senior to wear clothing that won’t catch on, say, a door handle and ensuring they wear shoes that adequately grip the floor.
How a caregiver can help prevent falls
In addition to cleaning up excess mess and hazards around the house, simply having another person in the home who is alert can help reduce the risk of falling and communicate those risks to a senior.
Falls can also happen during recovery from a hospital stay, when a senior might still be somewhat out of sorts and not yet at their best strength. He or she might be sent home with a strict medication regime but can’t understand or manage it on their own; a caregiver can be invaluable in helping a senior stay on track with required meds and monitor progress toward recovery. One important step in that recovery is transportation to and from medical or therapy appointments, social outings, or family visits. A caregiver can also make sure their charge eats a healthy diet and maintains any allowable exercise routine in order to build strength in bones and muscles, and reignite balance. The sooner a senior can get back to engaging activities like walking or gardening, the better.
Other helpful resources
- The Most Common Causes of Falls in the Elderly (& How to Mitigate Them)
- Fall Risks for Seniors: What Caregivers Can Do to Prevent Them (Infographic)
- Preventing Falls with Aging in Place Home Modifications
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.