We all seek the best for our loved ones when they reach the age they can no longer live by themselves. Baxter Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Anchorage, Alaska, provides assisted living facilities with the mission of ensuring that our Alaskan senior residents can enjoy the best care that they require and deserve. We understand that fall prevention is a serious issue when it comes to seniors, and that risks for falls increase during wintry conditions. The snowy and wet conditions during winters can increase the slippery risk of frequent falls.
Frequent falls, or even just a single serious fall, can cause injuries, including broken hips, arms, wrists, and back. Falls are also considered as the top-most cause of head injuries. Even if your senior loved one falls without any serious injuries or has a near miss fall, he/she might become more nervous and conscious about falls, which can further lead to a decline in everyday activities, such as exercising, walking, and getting out of bed. They may even be concerned to walk around their own room, due to fears of falls. The decreased engagement in activities can cause muscular weakness, and this can further increase the risking of falling more frequently.
To help you prevent your seniors from falls and the associated concerns consequences, our caregiving experts will help you understand how and why seniors fall. We have also created a list with recommendations about you can help prevent falls this winter.
Causes of Falls
Some common causes or risk factors for elderly falls may include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of vitamin D
- Lower body weakness
- Weak bones because of reduced bone mass
- Difficulty with walking
- Difficulty with managing body balance
- Loss of vision
- The inability to see properly during night/dark
- Regular use of medicines that affect the concentration or may cause dizziness
- Sore and tired legs or uncomfortable shoes
- Feet neuropathy
- Fluctuating levels of blood pressure which is common in elderly
- Cognitive deficits (e.g, dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, etc.)
- Consumption of alcohol, marijuana, or other sedatives
- Home structures that may cause a tripping hazard (e.g., slippery floor, broken/slippery steps, missing or fewer handrails, limited lighting)
Seniors can experience a combination of these various causes that can lead to falling. Baxter Assisted Living in Anchorage focuses on the physical setting of their residential facilities that can help with the prevention of falls. We use extra handles around our premises and throughout seniors’ residential rooms, place secure rugs on slippery floors, and remodel bathroom floors accordingly so that we can prevent frequent falls. We also encourage our seniors to declutter so that their pathway is free from any obstructions. Also, there are trained staff on duty 24-7 which helps seniors during times of emergency.
Consequences of Falls
You might be surprised to know the severity of the consequences of elderly falls, and that a simple fall that resulted in only a few rashes or bruises can develop into much more severe ailments. Some common consequences of elderly falls may include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Knee injuries or fracture
- Twisted ankles, wrists, or knees
- Sores, scrapes, rashes, and other wounds
- Brain or head injury
- Muscle strains and dislocated shoulders
- Bruises or cuts
- In the worst case, death can occur because of a fall
- Shoulder dislocations or muscle strains
- Fear or future falls
- Anxiety and worries
As we have discussed, unfortunately, injuries from a fall can cause an elderly loved one to feel nervous. The falls can simply prevent him/her from performing tasks that he/she used to do before, such as independently walking, going out, and running regular errands.
To help your elderly loved ones, our Anchorage Assisted Living Facility ensures safety and security, and creates customized care plans that integrate the choices for each of our seniors. We take effective measures to prevent falls in the elderly.
Here are a few strategies that you can also consider during winters to help prevent falls.:
How To Prevent Seniors From Falling
- Declutter and Clean. The easiest way to save the elderly from falls is to reduce excessive mess. Clean the hallways and stairways, and don’t place obstacles that that can cause the elderly to be entangled or fall. Even the smallest objects can be a hurdle, and cause an elderly to become hurt. So, it is critical to pay extra attention to home cleaning.
- Adequate Lighting. Add appropriate lighting in your home so that your elderly loved one can easily watch what’s in their way. In our senior living facility, we prefer using a night light throughout our hallways and residential rooms to help our elderly move around more easily in the dark, this is especially important during our dark winter days with only a few hours of natural lighting.
- Reduce Slippery Conditions. Secure your home to reduce the slippery conditions, by placing secure rugs and fixing them with double-taps. Ensure the rug is secure as unsecure rugs are a leading cause of falls. Bathroom floors, kitchen, living room floors, and the overall house can be slippery, especially in snowy weather, as we may enter the home with our wet boots. You can consider remodeling the floors during winters.
- Live on the Ground Floor. Even with protections like handrails, stairs can cause a noteworthy falling danger. It’s best to help your elderly loved one live somewhere with only one level so the risk of falling down the stair is removed.
- Use Assist Devices: The elderly with physical limitations might need a cane or walker to move around. So, you must incorporate assist devices, such as extra handles, alarms, and grab bars to help the elderly.
- Consume Nutritious Food: Healthy and nutrition-rich food can help a senior to ensure they have the fuel they need to work appropriately and engage with the environment. A nutritious diet enhances the mood, boosts energy, improves metabolism, strengthens the immune system, improves the functioning of the nervous system, strengthens muscles, and stimulates brain functions.
Learn More About Healthy Winter Foods for Baxter Alaskan Seniors
Checklist for Elderly to Prevent Falls
Here is a quick checklist for the elderly to increase self-awareness and to prevent falls this winter:
- Regularly exercise, especially for leg strengthening, maintaining flexibility enhancing balance and posture. Some exercise options to consider may include brisk walks, yoga, bicycling, and Tai Chi.
- Recheck the medicines and ask the doctor to reduce those medicines causing drowsiness, anxiety, confusion, or dizziness
- Ensure you consume the recommended quantity of nutritious minerals, Vitamin D, and calcium to reduce the risk of hip or bone fracture
- Place heavy rugs and double-sided tape on your home rugs so that your rugs stick well with the floors
- Use a non-slip mat inside the shower or bath-tub
- Ask family members to move the furniture that may create an obstacle-course
- Coil the extra wires next to the walls
- Fix uneven or broken stair steps and do not place an extra object on the stairs
- Properly use lightning on your stairway and throughout your home
- Use stair carpeting
- Add stair handrails and ensure that the handrails are on both sides of the stairs
- Order or fix an alarm, to help with emergency situations, as elderly may tend to wander
- Move slowly, particularly when standing up from a sitting or laying posture
- Install grab bars
- Add night lights throughout your home
- Visit an optometrist to identify and correct any vision concerns
As we age, we may face more challenges with our body which may cause challenges with adjustments. We may no longer be able to as easily perform the activities that we used to. At Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage, Alaska each resident will have a personalized care plan tailored specifically to them. We value our residents and will ensure they receive the necessary support to enjoy a fulfilling and wholesome life, as independently as possible.