Tread Lightly: Fall Prevention for Seniors
Fall prevention of seniors is one of the most important safety precautions that should be learned by seniors and their caretakers. With the winter still in full swing, the risk of seniors falling increases due to ice, snow, and low temperatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every three adults over the age of 65 will suffer a fall, and two out of three will fall again within six months. Twenty to 30 percent of those who report falling will suffer moderate to severe injuries and will not be able to return home.
Keeping seniors safe so that they can continue to be active should be the focus of the family and or caregiver. Some fall prevention strategies are listed below.
- Be aware of weather conditions, and do not go out in hazardous conditions.
- If going out is unavoidable, make sure the senior has slip resistant or rubber soled shoes. Smooth soled shoes increase the risk of falling on snow or ice.
- If the senior does not have shoes that are slip resistant, such as those with a rubber sole, you may consider buying them “ice grippers” for their shoes.
- Exercise is the number one strategy to prevent falls. Individually prescribed home exercise programs have been shown to reduce falls. Consider a group exercise class that includes any of the following two have also been known to reduce the risk of falling: strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance.
- Tai Chi has been shown to reduce falls.
- Advise your senior to carry his or her cell phone at all times in case of a fall. Getting help quickly after a fall is essential to recovery.
- Help your senior by clearing walk and driveways of snow and ice around their home.
- Use of a walker or cane in these conditions can also be helpful. Ensure that the rubber tips are in good condition.
Whether you are a professional caregiver or a concerned family member, you can show your seniors that they are valued by sharing these tips with them.
By Dala Stamps RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator, St. John Trauma Center