Falls are the leading cause of injury to senior adults, and can often be prevented. This week we are going to look at preventing falls with a senior health checkup (also see our previous posts on in the bathroom, and home safety). By maintaining good health, your senior loved one will be able to stay independent and live well longer, and prevent minor or serious injuries from falls.
Balance and Gait
Balance and gait are essential to fall prevention, but although we may not think about our balance very often, is something that needs to be worked on constantly for the body to maintain its strength. As we age, coordination, strength, and flexibility naturally decline, but through a simple exercise programme can be maintained. The best exercises include yoga, swimming, low-impact strength training, and pilates, but any exercise that your senior loved one is going to enjoy and commit to will play a significant role in improving their health. If balance becomes a serious concern, a physiotherapist or occupational therapist can design a specific routine to improve coordination.
Many adults ignore the decline of their vision, and many accidents are linked to poor eyesight. Ensure that eye appointments are kept up to date with your senior loved one, and also have a look around the house for potential hazards in the dark. Night vision declines with age, so poor night lighting can pose a significant hazard for many.
If your senior loved one is experiencing problems with balance and coordination, it may be caused by a medication they are on. Some prescriptions can cause drowsiness and even dizziness, increasing their risk of a fall. If you or your senior loved one are concerned that a medication is having negative side effects, speak to your doctor about options to alleviate that risk.
A good diet goes a very long way to a picture of overall health. Staying hydrated and eating regular, balanced meals will likely prevent accidents or mobility issues.
Sleep plays a major role in our mobility and coordination at any age, but can be a real issue with senior insomnia. If your senior loved one is not sleeping well, it can increase their risk of illness as well as reduce mobility, so is very important to find a solution. Find out more about senior insomnia here.