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Comfort Keepers provides award-winning in-home care for seniors and other adults in need of assistance with daily activities. Our highly trained and dedicated caregivers can help your loved one stay in their home for as long as safely possible—a dream come true for many elders.

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Fall Mitigation Strategies

Uncategorized  |  November 27, 2020

4 minute read

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Most of us have heard of the term “fall prevention,” which is a misnomer; falls cannot be prevented. Falls can and will occur, and the risks associated with these falls increase dramatically with every year we age. And, regrettably, it is a more common concern than you might think.

The good news, however, is that there are established strategies to assess fall risk and implement controls to reduce the chances of a fall occurrence and even to reduce the severity of the fall.

As an experienced nurse and client care coordinator, I am eager to help seniors in the Kitchener and Waterloo areas, and so we are focusing on Senior Fall Mitigation Strategies. We hope to assist and educate seniors and their families on how to reduce such accidents in the hopes of avoiding their devastating consequences.

More than one-third of Canadian seniors experience falls, which can have a devastating physical and psychological impact, resulting in disability, chronic pain, loss of independence, reduced quality of life, and even death. Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors and falling once doubles someone’s chances of falling again.

Reducing accidents in the home, including falls, is one of the most important planning strategies for helping seniors stay independent. Fractures, head trauma and other injuries can cause long term mobility issues and have lasting physical effects. And, once an injury occurs, it can affect someone’s ability to live the way they want to and enjoy the same lifestyle and activities.

I would always tell my patients, “a well-planned fall reduction strategy adds years of quality life.” This especially applies to seniors living independently at their homes. We feel it is so important that we are not only blogging about it but also make it an important component of our in-home assessments.

Health issues that occur more often as we age can also make seniors more likely to fall. These risk factors include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Heart disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia
  • Malnutrition
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor vision
  • Ear infections or inflammation
  • Pain or sensitivity in the legs or feet

There are some precautions that seniors and their families can take to reduce the likelihood of a fall.

Evaluating risk factors and taking preventative measures in a way that considers the unique lifestyle, needs and health of a senior can help.

  • Minimize trip hazards – Some fall hazards are obvious; flights of stairs, slippery shower floors or cords that are too far from a wall outlet. But there are less obvious features that can be an issue for someone with dizziness or vision loss. These can include loose rugs, certain types of carpeting, dimly lit hallways or a dog toy in the middle of the floor. Removing the hazard or installing safety devices, like grab bars and brighter light bulbs, can help. Cleaning the home and keeping it tidy are major factors, as is proactive home maintenance.
  • Evaluate footwear – Footwear that has an open back, doesn’t fit properly, is worn out or has a slippery bottom can all contribute to tripping or balance problems. There are a variety of safe shoe options to fit any activity and personal style. Safe shoes don’t have to be boring!
  • Know the effects of medication – Seniors and their families should talk to a healthcare professional about how a person’s specific medications – both prescription and over-the-counter – can have side effects that cause dizziness or balance issues.
  • Nutrition and exercise – Having healthy habits when it comes to diet and exercise can prevent weakness in the legs and feet, and can reduce pain. Seniors should always talk to their doctor about any diet and exercise plan, and can ask specific questions about how these things affect their fall risk factor.
  • Focus on mental health – Studies show that there is a correlation between depression in seniors and falls. According to one report, “both depression and fear of falling are associated with impairment of gait and balance.” Positive mental wellbeing can improve many areas of a senior’s life, and reduced fall risk is another benefit. Connecting with loved ones, finding a sense of purpose, engaging in enjoyable activities and experiencing joy can improve physical and mental quality of life.

Some families only think about fall mitigation after a loved one is hurt, when it is too late. Taking precautions before an accident happens can help seniors maintain their physical health and their independence.

To learn more about our in-home senior care services, contact Comfort Keepers Kitchener and Waterloo.

Comfort Keepers® Kitchener and Waterloo

Comfort Keepers Kitchener and Waterloo provides senior care for each client with the respect and dignity we would provide a member of our own family. Our goal is to elevate the spirits of our clients and their families every day. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can also help with activities like cooking, cleaning and physical care. Established in 1997, Comfort Keepers ®provides, home care services to thousands of people by way of close to 600 franchised offices in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Comfort Keepers Kitchener and Waterloo opened in September of 2020.

 

For more information contact:

Dahlia Joseph, Client Care Coordinator

kitchenerwaterloo@comfortkeepers.ca

Phone: 647-557-3126

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