How You Can Reduce Risk of Injury among the Elderly
As people get older, their bodies become less resilient. This means that incidents that may not have had such an impact before can do some considerable damage to an ageing body. One of the main reasons that the elderly end up in hospital is due to injuries caused by accidents, in particular falls.
According to the World Health Organization, this is something that is taking place all around the world. The elderly are falling more and when they do, it is resulting not just in injuries but also in fatalities. In many instances, the resulting injuries mean that these individuals are often unable to live unassisted after the accident. The unfortunate part about all of these statistics is that many of these issues could have been avoided. There are many preventative methods that can be implemented to ensure that such accidents do not take place. Here are a few of the ways that you can ensure that the aging person in your life remains safe:
Notice the Warning Signs
In many cases, most elderly people do not actually believe that they will fall and hurt themselves. This often means that they do not take the necessary precautions to prevent a fall from taking place. Therefore, it is up to you to notice the warning signs. For instance, have you noticed that the individual is not walking as stably as they used to? Perhaps, you observe them slipping or having to support themselves more often. All of this indicates that the person is having a great deal of trouble with walking. This means that there is a greater chance that a fall will occur. The first step to actually preventing injuries is to notice when there is a higher risk of them occurring.
Provide the Necessary Aids
Many aging individuals may not speak up for fear of being a bother. However, if you have taken note of the above mentioned warning signs, it is time to do something about it. If you have noticed that the person in question is having a difficult time moving around, they may need to see a physical therapist. Now, one of the most common remedies for stability issues and mobility is a walking cane. It is important that you choose the right walking cane for the individual, based on the issue that they are facing. It is also a good idea to take the initiative and look at many of the products that may be available for the elderly. Not all of these will be issued by a doctor but many can improve people’s lives in a variety of ways.
Check Their Surroundings
What you might consider to be a safe and comfortable environment may not necessarily be so for an elderly individual. There are many factors that could contribute to accidents. This includes slippery floors in the shower, stairs that may be difficult to climb, or walls that do not offer support. Once someone is over the age of 65, there are considerably more hazards in their environment. Minimizing or getting rid of these issues helps you keep them safer. For example, install hand railings where the individual might need them the most – especially along hallways. If getting up the stairs is quite difficult, have all of their belongings relocated to the ground floor. Take special precautions such as non-slip mats in the bathroom and have rails along the walls there as well.
Get Frequent Check Ups
You may already be taking your aging relative or friend to see a doctor on a regular basis. This will be a strictly adhered to schedule if the person has a particular medical condition. While these are certainly important, you may want to add a couple of other features that you might want to get checked out. Among these are eyesight and hearing. Many general practitioners may not conduct sight and hearing tests that are necessarily thorough enough to catch a problem. You may often need to find these services on your own but it is quite easy to do so. Even if you do notice a problem, you should still get the individual’s sight and hearing checked out quite often. This way, any issues will be caught early on and resolved quickly.
Be Aware of Certain Medical Risks
It is a good idea to check out the medication that your elderly companion is taking. In particular, you should quickly read through the common side effects. You may find that some of these medications may cause drowsiness or dizziness. In these cases, you will need to take extra precautions against accidents taking place. For instance, you can ask the doctor if these medications can be taken at nighttime. If you notice these side effects being exhibited, a doctor may seek to switch the medication or to try a lower dose.
These are some of the ways that you can ensure that the elderly individual in your life remains safe and sound for many years to come.