Accidents, two-thirds of which are falls, are the fifth largest cause of death in the elderly and can both be caused by, and/or result in, mobility problems. As a consequence, various issues arise that should be dealt with.
Often seniors or people with mobility problems withdraw and become depressed because of the lack of social interaction. Their fear of falling keeps holds them back from being active and they feel stuck in their home. The best thing a caregiver can do is to help them re-engage with their community, family and social network. This could be something as simple as helping them go to church, or to have friends over for lunch.
It’s important to conduct a home safety assessment. Identify areas where modifications can be made to help reduce falls, such as installation of grab bars in the bathroom and removal of obstacles in the home that can create hazards.
Provide them with ways to combat their fear of falling, such as test walks to desired destinations, and encouraging them to exercise in order to strengthen their legs and increase their endurance. Tai Chi, a slow and gentle form of exercise can greatly improve strength and balance without causing any strain on existing impairments.
Identify potential reasons your loved one might fall. It could be impaired vision, poor lighting, dizziness from medication or illness, even something as simple as loose carpets can be a danger. Remove clutter from the floor and ensure clear passageway from the bedroom to the bathroom.
If you are aware of the potential problems, it becomes easier to take action to reduce the risk.