Helping Older Adults Prevent Fall-Related Injuries

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 when needed.

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.

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