Slips and falls by seniors – how to prevent them
Slips and falls can happen at any age, and getting injured or breaking a bone can have severe side effects down the road. This is particularly true when we’re talking about seniors. Throughout the healing process, a person’s fractures limit motion and in some circumstances the patient may require surgery. Wearing a cast at 60 years old can be particularly unpleasant; not to mention dangerous to the health. Since seniors have brittle bones, even after the cast is removed the leg or hand is not completely recovered. Following a fracture, most seniors experience osteoporosis or arthritis for the rest of their lives. Preventing slips and falls is the best thing that we can do for our aging parents. It is fundamental to keep them informed, especially in tough weather conditions.
Walkers and canes for increased stability
Walkers and canes can prove to be extremely useful for seniors. These will help them have more stability when walking in bad weather conditions. Going out on heavy rain or having to surpass mountains of snow in the winter can be tough. Canes are excellent aids; they’re easy to keep around, sturdy and particularly useful. Walkers on the other hand, are much more suitable for seniors with severe physical disabilities such as Parkinson’s disease, paralysis or MS (multiple sclerosis).
In harsh weather conditions seniors should wear rubber boots to make sure their feet are kept warm and dry. The bottom of the boot should be made of a sturdy material for added traction. This way slips and falls are severely prevented when walking. Through rain and snow it gets extremely unsafe for older people to walk without support or proper footwear. Make sure to inform them about the importance of quality shoes before heading out.
Prevent falls by making an appointment with your physician
Start a fall prevention plan and consult with your doctor about measures you can take to stay safe. Make a detailed list with all medications on your regimen and take it with you. Your physician will review it and then tell you everything there is to know about interactions and side effects that could affect your well being and falling risks. To keep slips and falls at bay, a doctor might consider taking some off the list – such as antidepressants and sedatives that make you feel dizzy or anxious.
In case you’ve experienced falls before, you need to inform your doctor. Tell them when was the last time you’ve suffered an injury and where. Such details might help the doctor figure out a fall-prevention strategy. Get an ear and eye exam, and be prepared to talk about hearing and vision aids to improve mobility.
The more you exercise the better the chances you have to prevent falls. Get your doctor’s approval first and consider mild activities to keep the joints flexible. Water workouts and walking ideal; these exercises are slow but detailed, and don’t trigger any sort of physical pain. By improving flexibility, balance, coordination and strength, you’ll have more stability in your legs and body when you’re out on the street.
Bad weather conditions make seniors feel isolated. Most of them won’t even have the courage to go out because they are too afraid they will slip or fall. A great solution is to ask for assistance. A caregiver can walk you to the drug store on bad weather, but he will also inform you about the importance of proper clothes and footwear to prevent falls. Those who cannot afford to hire a professional caregiver for their loved one should be caregivers themselves. Make time for your parents and be there for them when they need you.
Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that seniors need extra supplementation to help strengthen their bones, hearts and metabolism. Bad weather conditions make the body feel weak; many seniors have arthritis or osteoporosis, which are physical conditions that affect their walking and overall mobility. In this case, supplements can help. However, make sure to get informed first. Consult with a nutritionist or doctor and settle on the best mix of vitamins to keep your senior parent living healthy.