If you're a caregiver who's concerned about the safety of your loved one, you probably know by now that falls are the leading cause of injuries in the elderly and that 70 percent of accidental deaths in persons over age 75 are caused by falls. So, what can you do to keep your relative safe? Here are some of the most common reasons why elderly people fall, which can help you evaluate whether you need to take preventative actions.
1. Reduced vision. As we age, our eyes begin to experience vision problems. This may include an intolerance for glare, altered depth perception, nearsightedness, decreased night vision and a decline in peripheral vision. All of these factors can make it dangerous for an elderly person to navigate without the help of glasses or something to assist in walking.
2. Illnesses and physical conditions. If your relative has some kind of disorder or impairment, it could very well affect the way he or she is able to move. After talking to your loved one's doctor, you should take steps to make it easier for him or her to get around. This could mean getting a wheelchair or walker, or just taking a medication that alleviates the problem.
3. Household obstacles. If there are many throw rugs, uneven floors and slippery surfaces in your relative's house, the chance of a fall is much greater. It's important to make sure that walkways throughout the home are clear of clutter and that your loved one wears non-skid footwear inside.
4. Neurological changes. Unfortunately, our cognitive abilities decrease as we age. That means that your relative might be experiencing changes like postural instability, slowed reaction time and decreased sensory awareness. Try keeping your loved one mentally active with puzzles, books or other engaging activities to help encourage new neural pathways.
5. Medications. If your relative is taking a medication for some kind of condition, the side effects could have an impact on factors that may influence his or her mobility. It's important to know how your loved one reacts to his or her medication, and monitor any changes after he or she begins taking a new prescription.
After ensuring that these risk factors are taken care of, invest in a medical alarm device from Bay Alarm. A medical alert can ensure that your loved one gets help when he or she needs it – all at the push of a button.