In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its annual report on the leading causes of death in the United States. As it is every year, “unintentional injuries,” i.e. accidents, was in the top 5 leading causes of death that year. And as you can see in the chart below (data courtesy of the CDC), those over the age of 65 have the highest rate of death due to fall of all other ages. This is due to the fact that as we age, our bodies begin to weaken as the result of age, health conditions, and sometimes even medications used to treat such conditions.
Given this unfortunate fact, it is imperative that caregivers, children, and the like take steps to protect our seniors from being injured, or worse, by something so preventable. Below are safety tips to prevent our seniors from falling.
Know Your Senior’s Predispositions
Whether you’re a child with an older parent or a caregiver for a senior citizen no longer capable of taking of his/herself, you must make yourself aware of two very important things that could make it more likely for your senior to fall. First, what health conditions does your senior have? Certain health conditions, such as vertigo, arthritis, and osteoporosis, can all be factors that contribute to a senior falling. Become familiar with your senior’s health conditions and be aware of whether such conditions could lead to a fall.
Second, what medications do your senior take? Some medications have side effects that can lead to falls; for instance, anti-anxiety medications can cause blurred vision and medications meant to lower blood pressure can cause dizziness. Find out which medications your senior takes and ask a doctor if any of them could cause him/her to fall.
Buy Necessary Equipment
As we go older, our body becomes weak and require assistance of either someone or of some tool. If you are not able to provide a caregiver for 24 hours, then the least you can do is buy some necessary tools that will make their life safer and easier. Seniors are most vulnerable in the bathroom and hence you need to buy tools like shower chairs, bath lifts and walking canes. These tools are very helpful for them and give them confidence and freedom. For example a bath lifts can lower and raise them in the bath tub with just a click of a button. We will be discussing about this tools in this article in detail.
A bath lift is a good tool for seniors and those who have disabilities or someone with injuries. It is a lift operated by a powerful batteries that raises and lowers you in the bath tub. The bath lifts are charged by a battery before using it. Most bath lifts comes with a remote control that seniors can easily use when needed. There are different types of bath lifts available on the market, so choose the best bath lifts of 2018 for better performance.
If you can’t buy a bath lift, then consider buying a shower chair. It is another important tool that makes showering easier for elders. It is basically a waterproof wheel chairs that can be wheeled in bathroom for shower. There are many types of shower chairs and bath chairs with wheels to help you get to the tub, for example you can have shower chairs with wide seats or regular sized seats and commode seat shower chairs.
Encourage Mental and Physical Exercise
In addition to being a great means to keep your senior as healthy as possible for as long as possible, mental and physical exercises also decrease seniors’ risk of falls. Physical health directly corresponds with balance; the more physically healthy someone is the better balance he/she will have while the less physically healthy someone is the less able he/she will be to maintain balance.
Mental health is also important as it has a direct effect on physical health; a person’s physical health can decline due to mental ailments like depression or anxiety. Additionally, maintaining mental health through exercise enables seniors to ward off memory loss and the like. Mentally healthy seniors will be capable of understanding their physical limitations while mentally unhealthy seniors may forget about their physical limitations.
Other Safety Tips
In addition to the tips above, here are steps you can take to prevent your senior from falling:
- Install a bathroom railing to make bathing and the like easier and safer;
- Encourage baths as opposed to showers;
- Install rubber pads in your shower or bathtub;
- Ensure that all areas are well-lit;
- Secure lose items, like rugs;
- Keep traffic areas clear for walking; and
- Install night lights in all rooms.