Home care in Loveland, CO

  • 3880 N. Grant Avenue
  • Suite 180
  • Loveland, CO 80538

Fall Prevention 101 Starts With Awareness and Communication

Falling is one of the most common causes of injury, and even death, among people aged 65 and older. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one out of every four older Americans falls each year. Not all suffer serious or fatal injuries but a good number do.

Falls among older people are a leading cause of hip fractures, other various broken bones, and head and neck injuries. And, as a recent NCOA article on fall prevention points out, even if a fall doesn’t result in serious injury, there can be psychological effects, making seniors feel less secure and confident in their abilities and surroundings.

There are a number of factors that can lead to a fall:

  • Balance and gait. As we age, we tend to lose dexterity, coordination, and balance.
  • Vision. Aging eyes have a harder time picking up tripping hazards and harder-to-see obstacles.
  • Medications. Some medications can cause dizziness or interactions that can lead to a fall.
  • Environment. Seniors don’t often think of simple modifications they can make to keep their home safe.
  • Chronic conditions. More than 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis that can increase the risk of falling.

Fortunately most, if not all, of these risks can be mitigated, at least to some degree. As in most aspects of life, communication is key. There are many steps you can take to foster fall prevention at home for seniors, but it starts with keeping an open line of communication with your older family member.

Sit down with your family member, talk about the factors and risks as they exist and create a plan for mitigating those risks. Call it your fall protection plan. To have effective fall prevention at home and fall protection, you must have the support of the person you’re trying to protect. Talk about their feelings, about the increasing risks of falling and see if they might address fall prevention with their health care provider.

Discuss your loved one’s current health condition with them to learn of any issues or problems they might be dealing with that could lead to an increased fall risk. Ask about their latest eye checkup and if they need to update prescription glasses.

Be cognizant of whether your aging loved one is holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking. Do they appear unsteady or weak? Talk with them about their medications and help them make sure they’re taking them properly to avoid side effects. And, do a walk-around of the house to make sure there are no unneeded obstacles or hazards. Install railings on staircases and grab bars in the tub/shower, if needed.

BrightStar Care® Fort Collins/Loveland has addressed fall prevention and fall protection of older adults through its Focus on Falls Initiative. It is a unique solution that pairs BrightStar Care’s clinical expertise and patient education for family caregivers to reduce fall risk by managing chronic conditions, monitoring medications, and addressing other leading causes of falls.