Have you ever heard of Active Aging? It’s a process that aims to optimize certain opportunities for seniors in order to improve quality of life and maintain independence. Safety is a high priority in the framework of Active Aging, and it’s no wonder a huge emphasis is placed on fall prevention. Every year, approximately 28-35% of people aged above 65 fall at least twice, and the numbers are even more worrying for seniors above 70.
Besides the emotional trauma and physical injuries that come with an accident, falls also cause severe financial loss for the family (hospital bills, medicine, caregiver expenses and so on). Therefore it’s crucial not only to arm the elderly with certain safety measures (like medical alarm systems) but also educate them on how to avoid situations that could cause a fall.
Risk Factors for Falling
For seniors, the thought of becoming incapacitated is just as fearsome as the fall itself. According to their way of thinking, the only way of avoiding an accident is by not moving at all, a logic that renders them home-bound, limits their everyday life and isolates them from society. They must understand that taking less action and sitting in front of the TV only makes matters worse.
Fall-related injuries culminate from a variety of potential risks. There are behavioral factors (alcohol and medication intake, slippers and footwear), environmental factors (a cluttered house, badly lit hallway, or loose rugs), socioeconomic factors (limited access to healthcare and social services) and biological factors (age, illness, and physical condition). Both the family members and the aging relative must be aware of all these types dangers in order to prevent falls.
Fall Prevention Methods
Avoiding injuries and sudden collapses is an active battle. Seniors should not let their physical condition dwindle by ensuring they exercise regularly. There are special classes held exclusively for aging adults, and visiting these will also help the elderly person socialize with others. They can also request manual training from a physiotherapy expert, who oversees the exercise and adjusts the difficulty suited to their abilities.
The elderly should also regularly consult their physician, as certain medicine will have a side effect that could cause dizziness or disrupt balance. A healthy lifestyle can also prevent osteoporosis, which is heavily linked to falling. Similarly, environmental risk factors can be negated with the help of friends or family members who could volunteer to declutter their home and set up some protective items.
A senior’s house must be well-organized and clear of obstacles, since maneuvering between random items and furniture only invites a fall. In case the aging person lives in a multi-store building, a staircase lift is well worth the expense. As for the bathroom – which is considered to be the most slippery place in the home – install a grab bar by the bathtub, or add a shower bench.
Medical Alert Systems Cancel Risk Factors Too
Medical alert systems are widely recognized for their useful nature when it comes to safeguarding the elderly. They are designed to counter several potential risks associated with falling. For example, the fear of being helpless during an emergency is what prevents seniors from leaving the house. But knowing that there is a fall detection pendant around their neck that calls for help even if they are unconscious provides a huge confidence boost. Medical alert systems offer additional products as well, like medication reminders and environmental detectors, further increasing the safety level of the house.