No one likes falling, and even young children are at risk of getting hurt during a sudden accident that causes them to hit the ground. However, seniors are especially vulnerable to the hazards posed by a fall. These six reasons should serve as reminders of why fall prevention is an essential part of every older adult’s care plan.
1. Bone Loss Increases the Risk of Fractures
A person’s bones reach their peak mass around the age of 30. After that, mild bone loss tends to occur over the next several decades, and some women notice a drastic change in their bone density levels after menopause. Although osteoporosis increases the risk of a fracture, all seniors are more likely to break a bone than a younger person. These breaks also tend to take longer to heal due to the natural decrease in the body’s healing abilities that occurs with aging.
Exercise and good nutrition can strengthen bones, so if your loved one needs help exercising and eating a healthy diet, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Bethlehem families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Preexisting Conditions Can Get Worse
Many seniors already have health conditions that are exacerbated by a fall. For instance, a senior recovering from surgery is more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after falling down. Arthritis, back pain, and circulatory disorders are additional health conditions that may get worse due to additional injuries sustained during a fall.
3. Seniors Have a Greater Risk of Complications
Younger people can often brush off a minor sprained ankle or bandage up a scrape that happens during a fall. However, an older adult may find that these minor injuries turn into more serious health situations. A sprained ankle may lead to chronic pain if arthritis sets in or the ligament doesn’t heal right, and a simple scrape could get infected and lead to gangrene for an older adult with diabetes.
4. Falls Are Often Not Discovered Right Away
A long time may pass before an older adult receives proper care after a fall. Seniors who live alone and cannot get to a phone may be left on the floor for hours or days. This is not only emotionally devastating for seniors who feel helpless—it also leaves them at risk for further health conditions from malnutrition or being unable to get to their medication.
5. Head Trauma Threatens Independence
Broken bones aren’t the only injuries that can limit a senior’s independence. Head injuries are common after falls, and seniors who experience traumatic brain injuries may face difficulty with even the most basic tasks at home due to a decrease in memory. In some cases, the brain damage from a head trauma is permanent, which makes it even more important to take simple steps to prevent falls.
Recuperating from any kind of brain injury can be particularly difficult for the elderly, especially if they already have mobility issues or health conditions. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Bethlehem live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.
6. A Single Fall Increases the Risk of Future Ones
Once a senior falls, the injuries sustained could leave him or her vulnerable to experiencing another one in the future. For instance, a broken bone that results in a limp alters mobility to the point where seniors are more likely to trip over obstacles. Seniors who take medication to manage pain left over from a fall-related injury also face side effects, such as dizziness, that increase the chances of falling again.
Falls can be especially hazardous for seniors, so preventive measures are vital to minimize the risk of falls and ensure safety. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Bethlehem families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 484-350-3874.