How To Lower the Risk of Your Parents or Grandparents Falling

Raziel Ungar

December 3rd, 2011 - 2 min read
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This guest post is by Terri Neil. Terri is a Principal and Director of Client Services for Senior Assist of the Peninsula, with offices in Burlingame. Senior Assist provides in-home assistance for seniors from San Francisco to Palo Alto. All of their caregivers are company employees.  She is also a volunteer member of the San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task Force.

Most of us will be visiting older family members and friends during the coming weeks.  This is an opportunity to observe their fall risk. Here are some alarming statistics...

  • Every 18 seconds an older adult (65 years+) is treated in an Emergency Department for a fall.
  • Every 35 minutes an older adult dies because of a fall.
  • 1 in 3 older adults falls each year
English: A senior citizen in trying to slow do...

Here are fall statistics for San Mateo County dating back a few years. Therefore, the current numbers are probably higher.

  • Falls were responsible for 27 deaths (65 years+)
  • 1500 hospitalizations (65 years +)
  • Average cost of a hospitalization was $41,000
  • Average cost of ambulance trip was $1400
A "to do" list for older adults...
  • Home Safety Modifications
1. Install grab bars and handrails. 2. Remove throw rugs. 3. Make sure there is adequate lighting to include nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and kitchens.
  1. Keep floors clear of debris/tripping hazards.
  2. Keep cords neatly tucked away behind furniture, lamps, etc.
  3. Check dining chair legs to make sure they are secure; not loose or wobbly.

Medication Management

Review medications (prescription and over-the-counter) with your doctor or pharmacist.  Discuss side affects.  Some may cause dizziness which creates a higher risk of falling.

Safe Behavior

  1. How do you carry things?  Don't overload your arms.
  2. Are you always rushing around? Slow down!
  3. Do use step stools or ladders?  If so, stop!
  4. If you feel dizzy in the morning before getting out of bed, sit at the side of the bed until the dizziness goes away.
  5. Refrain from wearing open back shoes or slippers.
  6. Sit down when dressing and undressing.
  7. Wear an emergency alert pendant or watchband or carry a cell phone at all times to call for help.
    Lastly, please remind older adults that fall prevention is an important step in maintaining independence!
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