Injuries are a major concern for seniors and older adult because unlike their younger counterparts, injuries can take longer to heal and when improperly treated, can be the source of more serious complications. Skin tears, fractures and falls are some of the leading injuries among seniors. If you are concerned about the safety of an aging parent or loved one, here are a few helpful things that you can do to help your loved one minimize his or her risk for injuries at home.
- Pay Attention to Medications – Seniors are often prescribed a variety of medications, whose side effects may increase the risk for injury. For example, a diuretic such as Lasix, can increase the risk of falls when taken at night. The senior may feel a sense of urgency to go to the restroom, leading to slipping or a trip while getting out of the bed. Drowsiness and dizziness are also a common side effect of a number of medications used to treat age-related conditions. Talk to your aging loved one’s doctor if you feel any of their medication may be threatening their safety. The doctor will be able to adjust the dosage as necessary and can further explain the common side effects of prescribed medications.
- Check Visual & Hearing Acuity – Vision changes with age, as does hearing. Problems with either of these senses can pose a safety hazard for a senior. Families should encourage their aging parent or loved one to get both their vision and hearing checked on a regular basis. Along with this, it is also important that changes are made around the house to cater to vision and hearing changes. There should be clear walking paths from one room to another and rugs should be secured to the floor and non-slip matting should be used where falls commonly occur, such as in the bathroom and kitchen. Smoke alarms and other monitors should be loud and in locations where they will be heard clearly.
- Encourage Activities for Balance & Coordination – Gait, (how the senior walks), balance and coordination can change due to the aging process or chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. However, whether or not your aging loved one needs specialized Mesa Parkinson’s care, practicing balance exercises can help them to prevent falls at home. If you notice that your aging loved one is too unsteady when performing the exercises, an evaluation with their doctor or primary care physician may be necessary to help determine if an ambulation device such as a walker or cane should be used for additional safety.
If you are unable to check-in with your loved one on a regular basis, outside help may be necessary. Home Care Assistance of Mesa offers an hourly or live-in schedule and highly trained and compassionate caregivers can assist with daily activities to ensure safety and maximize comfort. Learn more about home care services by reaching out to a Care Manager at (480) 699-4899.