Falls are among the most common, costly, and dangerous incidents for seniors, especially as they reach their seventh and eighth decades of life (and beyond). As we get older, we tend to lose strength and coordination in the lower legs, along with other declining skills that assist with balance (such as eyesight). Our bones are more brittle, too, so they’re more likely to break after an incident.
Because of the significant damage that can occur from a fall, if you have a parent or grandparent struggling with balance, you’ll want to help them maintain the safest possible environment. Here are some tips:
- Clean up the clutter. Shoes in the hallway, coats on the floor, stacks of newspapers, extension cords, or other low obstacles are tripping hazards. Even a small piece of furniture like an ottoman or magazine rack could cause issues. Tidy them up!
- Have mom and dad wear comfortable rubber-soled shoes at all times. For added comfort, we also sell rubber-sole slippers at The Right Shoe.
- Remove all throw rugs, even those with rubber bottoms. Even if they don’t slide, they can be a tripping hazard.
- Install railings on both sides of all staircases.
- Install grab bars on bathroom walls near the tub and toilet to help get mom and dad up and down safely.
- Place non-skid mats on hard surfaces likely to be slippery, such as bathroom and kitchen floors. Place one in the bathtub as well.
- Do a little reorganizing. Make sure all daily items (food, cookware, clothing, etc.) are placed within easy reach at lower levels so that mom and dad don’t have to bend, stretch, or rise on tiptoes to get anything.
- Make sure all rooms have bright lighting, and that mom and dad always turn the lights on before entering a room. Nightlights in hallways are also an excellent idea.
- Ask mom and dad about their symptoms. Things that can affect balance include eyesight, dizziness, nausea, and more.
- If you, your parents, or grandparents have any concerns about falling, be sure to bring them to Martin Foot and Ankle for a comprehensive fall risk assessment and treatment solutions. We offer services such as custom orthotics, balance brace fitting, physical therapy, and other tools and procedures that can help improve balance and stability in older adults. We also offer fall prevention classes with our physical therapists with exercises that help build leg muscles and improve balance.
More than 1 in 3 seniors will fall this year. But by fixing up a few things around the house and making sure mom and dad get to the necessary appointments on time, you can help decrease the chances that your parents will join them. To set up an appointment with Martin Foot and Ankle, please give us a call today at (717) 757-3537.