Falls are one of the most common crises that seniors and families face. The risk of falling is hard to truly eliminate, but as care managers, we look to identify potential risks and work to implement prevention measures. Believe it or not, the CDC (cdc.gov) has found that the leading cause of death and injury among older Americans is falling down. For their own safety, care managers, caregivers, and seniors must take steps to reduce fall risks. The dangers of falls for seniors are numerous. Everything from minor bruising to death can result depending on the severity of a fall and the individual’s health. While not all falls can be prevented, many can be.

Signs a Senior is at High Risk of Falling

The National Institute on Aging (nihseniorhealth.gov) says that losing a steady, healthy balance and gait is common among seniors. Other factors, like certain medications and diseases, can increase difficulty with balance. To determine if a senior is at high risk of falling, we watch for the following signs:

• A change in gait
• Difficulty getting in and out of chairs or bed
• Reaching for support when bending, moving, or climbingsenior with fall risk
• Needing breaks while moving about routinely, like while climbing
• Straining to see clearly
• Watching one’s feet while moving
• Shuffling instead of lifting the feet when walking
• Pain in the joints, back, or lower body
• Diseases like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, or Arthritis

Common Medical Conditions That Increase Fall Risk

• Arthritis
• Diabetes
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Alzheimer’s and Dementia
• Chronic Pain
• Dehydration
• Disorders of the Foot or Legs
• Thyroid or Blood Issues
• Weakened Muscles
• Sensory Issues with Hearing, Vision, or Neuropathy

(Source: healthinaging.org)

If you notice signs like these, be proactive. Take steps to help seniors with preventative measures around the home and encourage them to practice walking safely outside the home as well. Contact one of our qualified care managers today to learn more about how they can help keep your family safe.

Free Fall Prevention Checklist

The CDC offers a downloadable checklist for fall prevention.

Use the list to determine what changes are needed to make your home a safer place for your senior.