Fall Prevention Tips: How Retirement Communities Can Ensure Senior Safety
Published on October 23, 2020
According to the Government of Canada, falls are one of the most prominent causes of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors. In fact, approximately 20% to 30% of seniors suffer a potentially serious fall every year.
Injuries sustained by serious falls can have a severe physical, mental, and even financial impact on both the senior and their loved ones or care providers. Fortunately, falls can easily be prevented! Preventing falls in the elderly is the most effective way to lessen the strain on the individual, their loved ones, and even the healthcare system.
Below are some of the common causes of falls in seniors, as well as some tips to prevent falls in older adults.
Falls Are a Serious Concern for Seniors in Canada
Injuries caused by falls can lead to serious physical, mental, and financial repercussions. Seniors often suffer tremendous setbacks such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after suffering an injury caused by a serious fall. Symptoms of fall-related PTSD include:
Constant fear of falling down again, which can lead to immobility
Feelings of isolation brought on by loss of autonomy
Permanent or semi-permanent physical disabilities caused by the injury
Seniors are also approximately 3.7 times more likely to suffer a serious injury caused by a fall than young adults. And, they’re less likely to make a full recovery after the fact. Since 2003, Canada has seen a steady rise in fall-related injury reports among seniors with the majority of the injuries being broken or fractured bones, specifically hip fractures.
What Causes Falls in Seniors?
There are many reasons why a senior might experience a serious fall, many of which are indirect. That said, here are some of the leading factors that cause falls in seniors.
Depleting Eyesight and Hearing
Eyesight and hearing tend to fade as people get older, which weakens their equilibrium and causes them to lose their balance more easily.
Decline in Physical Fitness and Health
Older adults tend to be less physically active, have less mobility, or are incapable of exercising the same way they did when they were younger. This can be brought on by a number of factors including illnesses, old injuries, or simply the physical effects of aging.
Environmental and Behavioural Hazards
Certain environmental and behavioural hazards such as cluttered living spaces, poor lighting, loose carpets, slippery floors, and high physical demand can put seniors in precarious living situations.
Understandably, many seniors want to maintain their independence and continue doing things on their own for as long as they can. But, as people get older, it’s important to make certain environmental and behavioural adjustments such as installing accessibility and safety bars in living spaces to decrease the chance of falling or tripping.
Tips for Preventing Falls in the Elderly
There are a number of steps that retirement homes and caregivers can take to prevent seniors from suffering injuries or falling down in the first place.
Ensure There Is Always Adequate Lighting
Retirement homes are usually equipped with LED lighting to ensure that all common areas, hallways, and resident quarters are properly lit. Bright lighting helps seniors with poor or declining vision spot obstructive objects in their path that they might otherwise trip over.
Install Assistive Devices Throughout Their Living Spaces
Assistive devices are a great way to mitigate health and safety risks in seniors’ living spaces without compromising their independence. Seniors can continue to live by themselves or in a retirement community with their own space without having to worry about falling down.
Assistive devices such as wheelchair ramps, metal handlebars, staircase lift chairs, and even emergency buttons throughout their living spaces can make seniors feel safe and promote easier mobility throughout their homes.
Make Their Living Space Completely Hazard-Free
Call it decluttering or spring cleaning. Either way, cleaning up messes and removing items that are no longer wanted or in use is a great way to enhance a safe living environment for seniors.
Maintaining a clean and tidy living space with minimal items throughout prevents the space from getting messy, which can be a big health and safety hazard for a lot of seniors who are living alone.
Be Aware of Medication Side Effects
Some medications can have a variety of side effects, especially when comingled with other medications. Side effects can include nausea, weakness, dizzy spells, and drowsiness.
Educate yourself on all of the potential side effects of the medications your elderly loved one is taking. Make sure that all medications are being taken according to doctors’ instructions (e.g. with or without food, in the morning, or just before bed) to improve results with minimal negative side effects.
Encourage Your Elderly Loved One to Stay Physically Active
Regular physical activity is an important aspect of leading a long and healthy life. That fact doesn’t change as people get older, but the types of physical activities that they’re able to engage in certainly do.
Exercises like going for a daily walk, yoga, Thai Chi, Pilates, swimming, or dancing don’t just help seniors stay limber, but they also help them stay energized and ease mobility for the rest of the day.
To ensure optimum results and safety standards, make sure your loved ones are always wearing the right attire while working out and do the proper stretches before and after each session.
Senior Safety and Fall Prevention at V!VA Retirement Communities
V!VA Retirement Communities is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all of our valued Community Members. We offer top-notch programs and classes that promote regular physical activity and health while also creating a safe and secure environment for all of our residents.
We also provide housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and concierge services, plus healthcare and medication administration, and more, so your loved one has the freedom and time to do the things that bring them joy. Our activities foster wellness, happiness, and friendship.
To learn more about what makes V!VA Retirement Communities different or to find out if one of our retirement communities is right for you or your loved one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1-888-984-8482.