Preparing for "The Fall"
Preventing trips & topples
I know it’s hard to tell sometimes living in South Florida, but with the arrival of holiday décor in our local shops and supermarkets it’s safe to say we are officially in the fall season. So what better time than now to touch on one of the biggest dangers to the senior population: the risk of falling.
Often sudden, and abrupt that first little topple to the ground comes seemingly out of no-where. “Mom had a little mishap yesterday.” I’ll hear people say. Or a usually independent, and mobile gentlemen will proclaim, “It’s the darndest thing, I just tripped… lost my footing all of the sudden.”
It’s no surprise really that an individual not prone to ambulation issues will suddenly just lose their footing or balance. Like most things in life our mobility will start to decrease slowly. Although on occasion some diseases like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis can act as an expedient to decreased independent ambulation, we typically do not notice gradual changes in ourselves or loved ones we see often.
That being said it is important for seniors and those caring for them to put in place a system of checks and balances when it comes to mobility within their home and routine community environment(s):
- Check home walkways and paths for rugs or narrow areas/turns that may make it hard to navigate or be tripping hazards.
- In doorways where a transition in flooring may occur insure that there isn’t a “lip” or “bump” that may snag footing or be of hazard to someone with a shuffling gait.
- On steps use brightly colored tape or paint to mark the edge.
- Always check any new medication for dizziness or loss of balance as a listed side effect.
- Install handrails in the bathroom and shower/tub.
- Place a shower chair in the shower. The bathroom and shower or bathing time is when an individual is most susceptible to falling!
- Replace pieces of furniture that have wheels or slide easily, like barstools, chairs and kitchen islands.
- Encourage the use of a cane or walker for those who may have occasional or slight balance issues. Often seniors don’t “always need” assistance but don’t release these adaptive tools are for preventative measure.
- Wear appropriate foot wear that provides good traction and support.
- Have eye sight check regularly.
- Keep the living area well lit and clutter free as possible.
Avoiding those little tumbles and the major spills requires only a little effort if routinely done. If you or a loved one require more assistance, or home health care in the Melbourne area, VIP America can refer a caregiver who is trained on proper transfer techniques and ambulation assistance. Call us today for a complimentary assessment 888-343-9205!