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Why Do Seniors Have a Higher Risk of Falling?

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Falls can be especially dangerous for older adults. They may be unable to bounce back as quickly after a fall as a younger person might. Here are some of the top causes of falls in older adults and what you can do to prevent your senior loved one from sustaining an injury.

Age-Related Eye Diseases

Poor vision related to age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration can cause older adults to fall. In addition to diminished central vision, these disorders can cause peripheral vision deficits. If your loved one experiences blurred or dim vision, take him or her to an ophthalmologist to perform a comprehensive visual acuity test and examine the retina. If the doctor is able to enhance your loved one’s vision with medications, a change in eyeglasses prescription, or surgery, the risk for falls may diminish.

Chronic Pain

Pain can cause weakness in lower extremities, an unsteady gait, and loss of balance. Physical therapy, warm baths, and range of motion exercises can relieve pain, as can taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. If your loved one has severe pain, assist him or her with all activities of daily living. Allowing a person who is in pain to bathe or shower independently may cause him or her to slip and fall, which could result in a hip fracture or other serious injury. Once your loved one is pain-free, he or she can gradually resume the hygiene regimen with less assistance.

For seniors with serious health conditions or mobility limitations, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful asset. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide elderly home care. Palm Desert families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Confusion

Dementia or cognitive decline can cause older adults to fall. If your loved one has episodes of confusion, don’t leave him or her unattended. Also, some seniors with dementia experience sundowning, which refers to an increase in confusion once the sun goes down. During these times, your loved one may be unaware of his or her surroundings and trip over a rug or tumble down the stairs. If your loved one seems more confused than usual, make an appointment for a physical. Confusion may be a temporary side effect of medications, infections, or elevated liver enzymes, or it may be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. A complete physical and psychological examination is necessary to determine the cause of confusion so an effective treatment plan can be implemented. 

Aging in place can present quite a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Palm Desert families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Medications

Antihypertensive and psychotropic medications can cause falls in the elderly. These drugs sometimes cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and blurred vision. If your loved one develops any of these side effects from medications, the doctor can lower the dosage or recommend a different medication that is less likely to raise fall risks. Antihypertensive medications such as diuretics can cause weakness and urinary frequency at night, and if your loved one doesn’t use a night light when walking to the bathroom, he or she may fall. 

By being aware of the common risk factors listed above, you can take steps to lessen your loved one’s risk of injury from falling. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Palm Desert families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Contact one of the experienced Care Managers at Home Care Assistance today at (760) 345-0001 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.