Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keep Your loved Ones safe from Falls

icon of elderly peopleImage via Wikipedia
How often have we heard the commercial, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" Many stand-up comics have made jokes about little old ladies pleading from the floor after a nasty fall.  These words though can spell disaster for elderly and others with compromised balance and ambulation.

Let's learn what you can do to help your loved ones stay safe from a potentially lethal fall.

Tips for maintaining health

Old age and sickness bring physical challenges, but there are practical steps that can be taken to enhance life and personal safety of such individuals.  What are they?  Taking steps to maintain health and safety are vital.  Also, make your home safer in order to prevent falls.



What happens when we age?
 
As we age, coordination may suffer, visual changes occur, and muscles and bones weaken.  Therefore, it is important to engage in regular physical activity as well as to practice good nutrition.  This can be a challenge as taste buds change in the elderly causing a diminished appetite.

Falls prevention

Physical activities have several bonuses which include combating heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and depression.  It can also improve digestion, circulation and sleep.  Remember though, before embarking on any exercise program, get the okay from your doctor.

With regard to meals, it is important to avoid those that lack vitamins and minerals.  Vitamin D is an especially important vitamin as it helps combat colon cancers, high blood pressure and is known as an antidepressant.  Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps to maintain bone mass.

Stay well hydrated as this can affect your balance, mental status and overall health. 

Walking is a great way to being exercise.

Make your home safer

Make sure that floors are kept clean, dry and free from potential obstacles such as, throw rugs, extension cords. Bathroom floors should be kept clean and dry. Tubs should have a nonslip mat or finish.

Water temperature should be checked.  Grab bars should be present.  Or, depending on mobility, a shower chair might be used.

At night, keep a night light on. And make sure that all walking areas are free from clutter.

Review medications of your loved ones.  Psychotropics and hypnotics can cause falls.  Also, diuretics can cause large fluid losses, so monitor carefully their fluid intake.  Dehydration can be deadly.


Source:

"Safety Tips for the elderly" Awake! Magazine
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