Elderly Safety Spotlight: Tips for Avoiding Falls

Millions of seniors are rushed to emergency care departments each year because of serious injuries sustained in falls. Older adults are at a heightened risk of falling because of health issues such as poor vision, dizziness, and poor balance. They may also be more likely to sustain serious injuries in a fall that require emergency care . These are due to their increased risk of osteoporosis. However, falls aren’t inevitable as someone grows older. There are steps you or your loved one can take to reduce the risk of a fall. You might consider talking to a doctor at West Hills Hospital about staying safe at home.

Physical Activity

Leading an active lifestyle is important for seniors. Physical activity improves muscle tone, flexibility, and balance. However, it’s important to exercise safely under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Seniors might consider working with a physical therapist at their community hospital. Some community centers and gyms offer fitness groups modified for the needs and fitness levels of seniors.

Home Modification

Some simple changes to the home can help seniors stay safe. Family members can remove throw rugs and clutter, and rearrange furniture if necessary to reduce the risk of tripping . All carpets should be securely fastened to the floor. Other steps to take include the following:

  • Adequate lighting indoors and outdoors
  • Nightlights in hallways and bathrooms
  • Non-skid strips on walkways and stairs
  • Grab bars in the tub and by the toilet
  • Non-skid mats in the tub
  • Handrails along all stairs

Medical Management

Certain medications may increase the risk of a fall, such as by causing dizziness. Seniors may wish to talk to their doctors about the side effects of any medications they’re taking. In some cases, an alternative drug may be available. It’s also advisable to schedule an eye exam each year.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and a specialized arthritis program to promote functional mobility are just a few of the services you’ll find at the Center for Fitness & Rehabilitation at West Hills Hospital . In the event that you or a loved one does suffer a fall, our community hospital also serves West Hills residents with high-quality emergency care on a 24/7 basis. If you require emergency care, please call 911; otherwise, you can contact our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.

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