Spending time outside, enjoying some fresh air, is important for all people, including seniors. Unfortunately, that could put them at risk for falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the top cause of injuries and death in older adults. In fact, they say that a senior falls every second of every day and it often leads to the person losing their independence. Here are five tips for helping your aging relative to prevent falling outside.
#1 Be Aware of What’s Ahead
Seniors should look at what’s coming up in front of them, watching for cracks in the sidewalk that could cause them to stumble. They should also be aware of uneven pavement or holes. Sticks and loose gravel could also cause them to trip or slip. If the older adult does not see well, an elder care provider can help them to avoid these hazards by spotting them and directing the person around them.
#2 Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing the right shoes not only can prevent sore feet and blisters, it can also make walking safer. Shoes for seniors should be sturdy and provide good traction. Rubber soled shoes with low heels are a good choice. Shoes should also fit well and not slip off the back of the foot. Elder care providers can help seniors to choose the right shoes before going for a walk or on an outing.
#3 Take Things Slowly
Older adults should aim to be more slow and steady tortoise than quick and careless hare. For example, after shopping seniors should take their time unloading the car, making several trips instead of trying to carry everything at once. Carrying too much may make it difficult to see since packages can block their view. Or, heavy packages can throw them off balance. An elder care provider can assist with unloading the car and carrying heavy bags.
#4 Use Assisted Devices
If the senior has balance problems, talk to their doctor about using a cane or walker to prevent falls. Some older adults may resist at first, but a doctor can explain the benefits of using a device, and the risks of not doing so. Sometimes being given the freedom of choosing the cane or walker that best suits them can make a difference. There are plenty of functional canes that come in fun colors and patterns.
#5 Keep Walks Around the House Clear
Keeping the walkways and sidewalks around the senior’s house clear and in good repair can prevent falls around the house. Sweep walks to clear away leaves and sticks. Repair any cracks or uneven spots. Inspect steps and fix any that are loose or crumbling. An elder care provider can sweep walks and help older adults around areas that need repair until they can be fixed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Los Altos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.