Falling is one of the most common causes of injury and disability in seniors. While the risk of a fall-related injury exists for people of all ages, it’s especially high for ageing adults. Here are five common reasons elderly people fall and what you can do to minimise your loved one’s risk.
1. Chronic Pain
If your loved one has unbearable pain in a hip, knee, or ankle, he or she may become unsteady and weak when ambulating, which could lead to falls and injuries. However, when pain is well managed via medications, physical therapy, and daily exercise, your loved one’s risk for falling may be diminished.
For seniors with serious health conditions or mobility limitations, a professional carer can be a wonderful asset. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide in-home care. North Coast families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for ageing adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family carers who need a break from their caring duties.
2. Degenerative Bone Diseases
As people age, they’re more susceptible to degenerative bone disorders such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The former causes pain and inflammation of the joints, and the latter causes weak, thinning bones. Both conditions can cause severe pain and instability and raise the risk for sudden collapse when walking.
3. Medication Side Effects
Ageing adults are susceptible to medication side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and cardiac abnormalities. When combined with preexisting medical conditions, taking certain medications can raise the risk for falls. Drugs known for their side effects include antihistamines, antihypertensive drugs, diuretics, and medications used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. If your loved one develops side effects as a result of medications, talk to his or her physician to review the side effects and either lower the dosage or discontinue the medication altogether.
4. Cognitive Deficits
If your loved one has cognitive deficits as a result of dementia or another condition, he or she may be at risk for falling. Seniors with cognitive problems are also at risk for “sundowning,” a phenomenon that occurs in the late afternoon and evening. During the daytime, “sundowners” appear perfectly lucid. However, once it gets dark, confusion sets in. If your loved one has cognitive deficits or becomes confused when the sun goes down, don’t leave him or her alone. If you’re unable to monitor your loved one, consider hiring a care worker or companion to keep him or her company while monitoring his or her whereabouts and behaviour. The carer can also accompany your loved one on walks, which may increase your loved one’s strength and reduce the risk for falls.
Ageing in place can present quite a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. North Coast families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our carers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
5. Vision Impairment
Age-related eye disorders include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. These diseases can cause cloudy vision, eye pain and pressure, and decreased peripheral vision. If your loved one has poor vision, he or she may sustain a fall. To reduce this risk, make sure your loved one uses all prescribed eye drops and medications and visits the eye doctor on a regular basis. In addition, keep all pathways free of obstructions, and make sure your loved one wears proper-fitting shoes.
By being aware of the common risk factors listed above, you can take steps to lessen your loved one’s risk of injury from falling. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. North Coast families can rely on expertly trained carers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while ageing in place. Call Home Care Assistance at (02) 6646 3527 to learn more about our flexible and customisable senior care plans.