Seniors are susceptible to disabling and life-threatening falls for several
reasons. Age is often accompanied by a reduction in coordination, balance,
flexibility, and vision. Seniors are also at an increased
risk of falls caused by dizziness from medications or complications from chronic medical
conditions. Falls can cause serious injuries that might not be apparent
right away, which means that some seniors might not seek emergency care.
Here at West Hills Hospital, our emergency care team encourages seniors
in our community to take steps to prevent falls and to seek medical attention
Conduct a Home Safety Assessment
Many falls occur because the home environment has not been modified to
accommodate a senior’s changing needs. Ask your aging relative for
permission to walk through the home and look for
areas that require safety upgrades. The home should have adequate lighting inside and outside. Sturdy handrails
should accompany all steps and the flooring should not be uneven. Help
your loved one fix these problems if you notice them. Install grab bars
in the bathroom next to the toilet and inside the bathtub.
Assist with Medication Management
A wide range of medications can contribute to dizziness and seniors often
take multiple medications. Ask your loved one to review his or her medications
with a family physician and find out if any of them might contribute to
a fall. The doctor should also know about non-prescription drugs that
may contain sleep aids. Help your loved one avoid an accidental overdose
by providing an automatic medication dispenser.
Offer Transportation to Appointments
Some seniors might avoid getting needed check-ups because they no longer
drive. Offer to take your loved one to the eye doctor for a vision exam
or to a physical therapist to work on balance and strength.
Research Remote Aid Options
Despite taking these steps to prevent a fall, it’s also important
to make sure your loved one can get emergency care in the event an accident
does occur. Help your loved one research options for a personal safety
alert system. If your loved one does fall, he or she can simply press
the alarm button to summon emergency responders.
If you or your loved one has fallen, please seek emergency care promptly
to check for internal damage. In addition to our emergency care services,
West Hills Hospital is a leading provider of joint replacement surgery. You can speak with
a registered nurse in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.