Patient Advocates Support Families with Safety Assessments to Prevent Falls
The Facts About Falls in Seniors
Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. As patient advocates, we always do a safety assessment with our clients. We know that safety is a priority to aging independently and to avoid unnecessary harm.
The rate of injuries and deaths from falls in the United States continues to climb. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) predicts that by the year 2030 there will be 7 fall deaths every hour. This Needs to change!
There are proven ways to reduce and prevent falls especially for those 65 and older.
Are you worried about falls or a loved one falling? Most likely you have reason to worry and even more falls occur every year than are reported. It is noted that 1 in 4 older adults fall but only half of those falls are reported to the doctor. Even worse, once you fall your chances of falling again doubles.
How can you Prevent Falls?
Falls can be prevented as you age, here are 4 things you can do to reduce your chance of falling or help a loved one prevent falls. As patient advocates, we always incorporate these 4 things into our client’s initial assessment and on an ongoing basis. An illness can cause a change in any of these key points so frequently refer to this checklist. For best results, we recommend after every change in health condition, otherwise every 60-90 days.
- Talk to your healthcare provider to evaluate your risks for falling. They can review your medications, to see if anything will make you dizzy or sleepy. Also, ask your doctor about adding Vitamin D (supports muscle strength). Be sure if your doctor adds or changes a medication you are aware of how it may affect your risk of falls.
- Be sure you have your eyes checked yearly. When wearing bifocals things may appear closer or further away than they really are. You may just want to wear your distance prescription outside.
- Do strength and balance exercises. If you have had a change in health condition you may need some physical therapy or occupational therapy to get you back on track. Be sure you discuss these options with your primary care physician.
- Make your home safer. This is a Big One!! Get rid of things that you can trip over. Add grab bars in your bathroom (shower & near toilet). Add rails to each side of your stairs, and use brighter light bulbs to increase more light in your home. There are likely more needs that are unique to your home, whenever possible we will recommend an in-home safety inspection by a patient advocate or another specialized healthcare professional.
Do not let a fall take away your independence, ask for help. As patient advocates, we can do a confidential safety assessment of your home and help you get the tools you need to be safe again.
The CDC provides great information on falls https://www.cdc.gov/falls/index.html