1. Get a Check-up
Falls are preventable. Make sure their doctor gives them a full physical evaluation to rule out any medical issues, if your senior has recently become a bit unsteady. For instance, low blood pressure can cause falls, as can diabetes, which can decrease sensation in lower extremities. And an untreated ear infection can also throw off balance.Unfortunately, over 50% of Hong Kong people do not have regular body check up***. International guidelines recommend having a general check up every year. See full list of screenings and recommended frequency on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Library:
2. Keep Track of Medication
Go over all medication -- both prescription and over-the-counter. Some drug the elderly use can cause side effects, which increases the chances of falling. And not taking medications properly can also be hazardous.
3. Check Eyes
Check your senior's eyes at least once a year and update their eyeglasses. Deteriorating vision and diseases can increase chances of trips and stumbles.
4. Recognize Hazards
Identify the potential risks. A few simple adaptations can make your parent's home much safer -- and help them age in place even longer:
- making sure that surfaces are not slippery,
- adding handrails and railings, solid grab-bars for entering/exiting bathtub,
- insuring frequently used items are accessible for your senior,
- insuring that electrical and telephone cords are safely arranged.
Click here for full list of home adaptations to help elderly live at home.
5. Proper lighting
Have enough lamps, be sure to install higher watt light bulbs, especially nightlights.
6. Throw rugs
Throw rugs can easily trip senior up. Eliminate throw rugs and use bare floors or wall-to-wall carpeting.
7. Update the Bathroom
Equip the bathroom with anti-slip tile, a shower stall with no tub or lip and sturdy hand bars around the shower and toilet.
More references and sources:*source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212100154.htm**source: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0401/p2159.html*** source: http://corp.massmutualasia.com/en/~/media/Files/What%20s%20New/Survey%20Findings/Retirement%202008_e.ashx