It’s a scary reality, but as your loved ones age, the chance of them suffering from an accidental injury increases. A decrease in coordination as well as the onset of medical conditions makes them more susceptible to a fall.
Many relatives and caretakers of the elderly fret constantly about these seemingly unavoidable accidents, but the truth is that there are several steps you can take to decrease the chance of an accidental injury. A simple adjustment or a few preventative measures can help safeguard your loved ones against common accidents.
We pulled together 5 easy steps you can take to make sure that your elderly relatives are secure in their day-to-day activities.
1. Regular physical activity.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but regular exercise can go a long way in injury prevention. Because strength, balance and coordination significantly decrease as people get older, regular strength-building activities can maintain a certain level of physical fitness that can help prevent accidents.
2. Knowing the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Certain prescription and OTC drugs that can have strong side-effects, such as blurred vision, dizziness or drowsiness. Knowing the side effects of these medicines can help you plan for different situations. For example, if they are taking a medication that causes drowsiness, it would be wise to make sure they do not engage in physical activity directly after ingesting their medication.
3. Proper treatment of pre-existing medical conditions
Prior medical conditions can contribute a lot to the likelihood of an accidental injury as they can affect a mobility, coordination, and other functions. Osteoporosis is an example of one such medical condition that creates an increased chance of injury in the elderly. With this illness, regular weight-bearing exercises, proper diet, and proper vitamin D and calcium supplements are all preventative methods.
4. Proper treatment of poor vision
With the onset of age usually comes an inevitable decrease in visual acuity, or the formation of glaucoma or cataracts. A senior citizen with troubled vision can often have difficulty not only with blurred vision, but also with a decrease in depth perception and peripheral vision. Regular check-ups and proper eye-care can reduce accidents.
5. Consideration of Environmental Factors.
Perhaps one of the most common contributors to accidental injury of seniors is environmental risks in the home. Most commonly, objects on the floor cause trips and falls. Poor lighting, loose rugs, flimsy furniture, and a lack of support bars also contribute to a hazardous home environment. Caretakers and relatives will often hire occupational therapists to help identify other risky aspects of a home space.
What changes have you made to accommodate your loved ones that have been particularly helpful? Have you avoided or dealt with an unexpected issue like that? What do you wish someone had told you before you learned as you went?