A patient being helped out of a car by her caregiver. A patient being helped out of a car by her caregiver.

Safety Supervision/Fall Prevention in Seniors

Falls can have dire consequences on a senior. It's because most fractures in older adults are caused by falls. Some of the most common fractures are in the spine, the forearm, the hip, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.

Why DO Seniors Fall So Often?

There are several reasons why seniors are an at-fall risk. Plus, once a senior has fallen, there is a greater possibility that it will happen again. But many falls can be stopped by making their home safer. Plus, using products to help keep an older person upright and less likely to fall can be helpful.

What to Do After a Fall

If a senior falls, there should be a medical assessment done as soon as possible. There are three significant reasons for doing this. First, a fall can be a sign of a medical problem that is new and untreated. Maybe the person is dehydrated or has a severe UTI.

An adult who falls is at a higher risk of falling again. So it is a good idea for a person to be proactive about reducing and identifying possible risk factors. But it's essential to do this after a fall.

Doctors may overlook a cause for falling unless the caregiver asks questions. By being proactive, some things may be overlooked which could be the cause, such as a medication change.

What to Check for After a Fall

To reduce the chance of any future falls, it is crucial that a doctor must check everything that could have contributed to the fall. Even if the senior had just tripped and stumbled, a thorough evaluation could prevent further mishaps. So here’s a list of what should be checked after a senior has fallen.

An assessment: An assessment should be made to make sure there aren't any underlying new illnesses. Be sure to note any symptoms that have been noticed or changes in behavior. These changes can be from dehydration, a UTI, pneumonia, heart problems, strokes, and anemia.

Checking blood pressure and pulse when sitting and standing: If falls have been a concern or near falls, it could be associated with fainting or light-headedness. In addition, sometimes taking blood pressure medication can cause a drop in blood pressure suddenly when standing.

Blood tests: After a fall, having the person's blood checked is often a good idea. If an older person's blood count is off, falls can happen. Sometimes a senior's blood sodium is too low or too high, and this can cause issues. A kidney function panel, a blood cell count, and an electrolytes check are excellent places to start.

Review of medications: Many older people are taking medicines that have an increased fall risk. Some of these medications can be eliminated or the dosage reduced.

Checking gait and balance: A gait assessment is when the doctor watches how a senior is walking. If the gait and balance are off, there are some things that can be done about it. For example, there may be some pain in the person's back, feet, or joints.

Physical therapy can be referred for a gait and balance assessment. In addition, strengthening exercise or a walker may be recommended.

Checking Vitamin D levels: A low vitamin D level can cause falls in adults and contribute to fragile bones.

Another option is a home care professional who can help reduce the risk of a senior falling. The caregiver can help with bathing and dressing, light housekeeping, and cooking. Caregivers from a reputable home care agency can keep a senior safe while the person enjoys their independence.

We at Right at Home have professional caregivers who can provide these tasks while keeping the person safe in their home. So call us at Right at Home today and make an appointment.

Right at Home Nassau Suffolk, NY
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