Every year literally millions of elderly adults (over 65 years of age) fall resulting in injuries ranging from mild to severe or even as serious as death.
Falls can result in significant injury such as hip and other bone fractures, head trauma (which can increase the risk of early death) and more. In fact in 2013 approximately 2.5 million non-fatal falls occurred in the elderly population and over 700,000 of those individuals were hospitalized. You may be surprised to learn that falls are the leading cause of injuries (both non-fatal and fatal) in older adults-over 65 years of age.
Another disturbing statistic about falls is that a large percentage of elderly people who fall end up in long term care facilities rather than going home after hospitalization.
Even if there are no serious injuries incurred after an elderly person falls, many times the trauma of the fall results in an increased fear level which could lead to a fear of being active-limiting the person’s independence and autonomy.
As a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) preventing falls is a very important part of safety planning.
So what can you do as a caregiver to prevent your loved one with AD from falling?
Encourage your loved one to adopt a regular workout schedule-exercise helps strengthen muscles and improve balance. Be sure to get the physician’s approval before starting any exercise regime.
Be aware that some drugs can cause dizziness-ask the pharmacist or physician which medications cause dizziness that could lead to falls, and inquire about a substitute that may not have side effects.
Plan for a yearly eye exam-a common cause of falls in the senior population is diminished eye sight, be sure to have your loved one’s vision checked on a regular basis.
Implement a falls prevention safety plan in the home by removing rugs that may cause tripping, ensure adequate lighting, use gaits and lock doors to prevent falling down the stairs, add hand railings and more-CLICK HERE to read more about implementing a safe home for your loved one with AD.
CLICK HERE to learn more about topics for Alzheimer’s caregivers by joining our 25 lessons on topics specific to Alzheimer’s care.