Falls in the home
Amman | Beirut| Dubai | West Africa
Aging in place is more than just the latest trend. It’s about enjoying the next stage of life by making sure the home you love is safe and secure. Despite diverse backgrounds and varying income levels, seniors across the country, and around the world, are attempting to solve the problem of aging in place. “The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Falls in the home are much more frequent and dangerous than outside the home.
Every year, of the many deaths amongst the elderly due to falls in the home, one in three is over the age of 65. Beyond just the related stress of falls in the home, this often results in both psychological and physical trauma. It also increases the chances by 20 times that a future fall will provoke a more severe injury. Whether it’s falling in the bathroom or merely losing one’s balance, it can happen quickly and without warning. Fortunately, solutions do exist!
1. Determine your fall potential
The National Institute of Health has linked a number of risk factors to the potential of falls:
- Medication – certain medications can cause side effects, such as dizziness
- Balance – your gait, or how you walk, or simply having poor balance can heighten your risk
- Blood pressure – a condition called postural hypotension causes one’s blood pressure to drop excessively after lying down or sitting
- Muscle weakness/reflexes – weak muscles, particularly in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors; similarly, slower reflexes may inhibit the time it takes for you to react and catch your balance if you begin to fall
- Sensory problems – if you are unable to sense your environment, you may not make the best choices of where to step, whether caused by poor eyesight or numbness in the feet
- Unsafe footwear – backless shoes, high heels, poor traction all increase one’s risk for slipping
While some of these factors may not be preventable, understanding that you may be at a heightened risk is. Also, taking extra care when doing ordinary tasks, such as cleaning or walking up the stairs, is even more important since they are often taken for granted.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about the risks
How can you mention the risk of falls in the home without getting anxious? It’s okay to warn oneself of the potential dangers without becoming frightened or alarmed that it is an inevitable plight. Advancing in age is not synonymous with helplessness. Rather, quite the contrary! It has been demonstrated that there is a strong link between physical activity, autonomy and moral well-being. That is why it is essential to remain open-minded on the subject and its potentiality rather than making it taboo. Especially since there are so many solutions! For example, a stairlift eliminates the daily barrier that a staircase may become in a multiple floor home. It is also keeping an open mind that a stairlift is not a crutch, but rather is there to make everyday life easier and allow you to maintain independence and safety in your own home!
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3. Seek friendship and visitation
Isolation is one of the most formidable factors. To avoid the risk of falls, it is important to surround yourself with others, whether it’s family, friends or neighbors. If that is not a possibility, there are many companies that offer homecare services or housecleaning, or look into joining a local club or association for others who share in your hobbies or your age group. There are so many ways to not be alone, with consistent visits and pleasant company. Should you seek advice on where potential hazards exist in your home, occupational therapists will often make house visits to assess your house or apartment. Together, you can talk about your concerns and potential equipment that can simplify your life and bring you more comfort on a daily basis.
4. Age in grace
Ultimately, we all take on some type of caregiver role with elderly parents, even if we don’t live with them or provide daily care. As mom or dad, they once concerned themselves and devoted their time and energy to our well-being. Now, as adult children, we find ourselves doing the same for them. No matter how you look at it caring for elderly parents means making sure they are safe, happy and taken care of. If their well-being is ensured then we have peace of mind. Something to remember is that caring for elderly parents shouldn’t be a burden or responsibility to bear alone. Caregiver support is available. In addition to siblings and other family members, there are experts, professionals, resources, and loads of information to help you in caring for elderly parents. Finding the right mix for their welfare and happiness takes some time and is a dynamic condition that will change over time, perhaps even day to day. Don’t worry or stress out. Remember, you are not alone. Staying informed, considering their happiness and comfort and making use of as many supportive resources possible, is the best approach when caring for elderly parents.
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