5 Signs Your Loved One Could Be at Risk of Falling
With advanced age comes the risk of severe injuries from falling, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept falling as an inherent part of aging. While it’s true that your risk of falling goes up as you age, you can lower your odds of falling by identifying and addressing your risk factors. The more personal risk factors you have, the greater the likelihood you have of sustaining a fall.
What Are 5 Risk Factors for Falling?
Falling risk factors are things that increase the odds you will endure a future fall. While there are likely plenty of things that could trigger a fall within your own home, this blog focuses on falls caused by personal risk factors.
It’s very important that seniors and their caregivers routinely assess their fall risk factors, as these can indicate an imminent threat that could have been avoided had precautionary measures been taken. For instance, if your loved one has diabetes, they may have diminished sensation in their feet, making a fall more likely. Likewise, if they have sustained a past stroke, they may have poorer balance, which also makes a fall more likely. These falls could lead to painful fractures and other injuries that may even rob them of their independence for a long time, should they sustain a devastating injury like a hip fracture that takes months to heal from.
1.Weak leg muscles
Your leg muscles affect your strength and balance, and they naturally become weaker as you get older. They also become weaker if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have contributing problems like arthritis. One sign of weak leg muscles is difficulty stepping up onto a curb.
Balance may be caused by weak muscles, but may also be a cause of health conditions like a prior stroke, Parkinson’s disease, vertigo, or the side effects of some medications. If your loved one feels unsteady when walking, they should consider using assistive devices such as a cane, rollator, walker, or a wheelchair to help them get around more easily and without fear of falling.
Some medicines cause unpleasant side effects like dizziness, unsteadiness, blurred vision, or unclear thinking. If your loved one takes more than 4 medications at a time, this, too, can increase their likelihood of falling. The classes of medications that most commonly cause unpleasant symptoms that could lead to falls include psychotropics, blood-pressure-lowering medications, sleeping pills, and anticonvulsants.
Problems with our base of support – our feet – like corns, calluses, bunions, and so on, or poorly fitted footwear, can increase the chances of falling. Foot problems can also make it more challenging to keep physically active, which only exacerbates weak muscles and poor balance. If you are a diabetic, numbness in the feet is a common problem that also leads to an increased risk of falling.
5.Memory loss or cognitive difficulties
Cognition problems become more common with advanced age and they can affect a person’s ability to judge risky situations or recognize common hazards that lead to an increased risk of falls. You can help your loved one with cognitive decline move around the home more easily by addressing fall hazards and making the necessary modifications so you and your family feel safer moving about the home.
What Can I Do to Prevent Falls?
Now that you know which risk factors could potentially cause falls, it’s important to know what you can do to prevent them. You should know it’s important to stay physically active or encourage your elderly loved one to do so throughout the aging process. Speak with their clinicians to gauge their risk of falling and ask their doctor or pharmacist about their medications and whether any should be adjusted in case they are at an inordinately high risk of falling. Another good precaution is to get an annual eye exam, especially because many eye diseases have no symptoms in their early stages, like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Replace eyeglasses and eyewear as needed for optimal benefit.
Contact At Home Healthcare for Caregiving Help
Are you interested in learning more about caregiving help in Texas? At Home Healthcare is an in-home caregiving agency with compassionate, empathetic in-home aides who can help your elderly loved ones adapt to their potential fall risks and learn to cope with any deficiencies that leave them more vulnerable to falls.To contact At Home Healthcare , please give us a call today at (877) 959-9093.