For those with older loved ones, falls are a common concern. Falls among seniors are common and often result in injuries, but they are ways to protect your loved ones using fall prevention plans. Fall risks can be reduced considerably reduced, though it does take some effort (on your part) and cooperation (on your loved one’s part). To begin the process, you’ll need to identify the risks specific to your loved one’s health conditions and address those issues. Your, your family, and your aging loved one should tailor your fall prevention plan as needed, modifying risk areas specifically for your beloved senior. The caring team at Stellar Transport offers these tips to get you started on preventing falls with your loved one in mind.
Getting the Process Started – Assessment
As the caregiver of a senior family member there are many challenges to keeping your loved one as safe as possible while also letting them live a life of contentment and independence. In order start the process of preventing falls, begin by doing a medication review with your family member’s physician. Ask if any medications increase fall risk and if so, can any dosages be reduced. Next, check your loved one’s blood pressure (or have the doctor do so) while they are standing and sitting. The goal is to ensure blood pressure isn’t too low (a sitting systolic under 120) and that it doesn’t drop when the senior rises from sitting to standing.
Talk with your loved one’s doctor or physical therapist and have strength, balance, and gait evaluated. Doing so will help you understand if the older adult has difficulty with balance or if leg strength is reduced. Once evaluated, your senior family member can add exercises to improve strength and balance. Finally, you’ll want to assess your loved one’s home environment for safety concerns. After, you can make the modifications needed. If needed, your senior’s physician can request an occupational therapy evaluation to ensure your senior is safe and confident in any needed modifications.
Getting Help When Falls Occur
Just as important as fall prevention is getting the medical care needed when falls do occur. Many senior adults don’t report falls when they happen. Even when they do report falls, some health care providers fall to assess and evaluate the situation, or provide the needed guidance and care following a fall. If you loved one has fallen, and appears to be without injury, it should still be reported to his or her physician, and thoroughly assessed. Some injuries only manifest days after the fact and without proper medical care can result in more problems in the future.
Ask your loved one what they believe caused the fall and follow up with his or her physician to determine whether medications, low blood pressure, balance or strength issues, played a role. If they did have a role in the fall, ask the doctor what can be done to prevent similar situations in the future. If this is your loved one’s first fall and it is the result of a rug, furniture, or other household décor causing the fall, you should assess their home and make the needed modification to prevent more falls from happening. Your loved one may be more accepting of safety modifications if his or her physician and occupational therapist recommends the changes. The key to fall prevention is being proactive on behalf of your loved one.
If Medical Transportation is Needed Following a Fall
If your loved one has fallen and was subsequently injured, Stellar Transport is available with caring medical transportation services. Stellar Transport provides safety and secure non-emergency medical transport in the Space Coast and beyond. You can count on the team at Stellar Transport to get your loved ones to and from health care appointments and other short trips as well as long distance travel, such as a visit to and from you!