As our loved ones age, they are more prone to accidents which can cause you, as a caregiver, unnecessary stress and worry. A variety of factors such as poor balance, weakening muscles, and even chronic pain can cause falls and can lead to unwanted complications. Thus, caregivers must know how to prevent falls to minimize injuries, so that you can put your mind at ease and protect your loved ones. Below are five pointers on how to decrease the chances of falling!
Improve Spatial Awareness
Firstly, many older adults struggle to carry out tasks while being aware of where their limbs are in relation to their surroundings. This lack of spatial awareness can cause them to call. This can be remedied by having your loved ones practice doing more than one task at once. For example, having a conversation while walking or simultaneously holding an item and moving. This method is called ‘dual-task’ training as has been shown to improve spatial awareness.
Build Up Good Core Strength and Balance
Poor balance and weak legs are one of the main causes of falls, alongside lack of coordination and flexibility. Hence, building up their core strength and sense of balance will minimize falls. This can be done by routinely working out. The exercises need not be very vigorous intense. Simple but effective activities include aqua aerobics, swimming, yoga, and pilates. All of these strengthen muscles thereby decreasing the risk of falling. Another plus point is that exercises have been proven to also improve mental well-being by relieving stress, boosting mood, and overall lightening spirits.
Look Out for Chronic Foot Pain and Injuries
Another common cause for fall-related incidents is present or former foot injuries that did not fully recover properly, resulting in pain and poor balance. Water retention can also cause feet to swell, resulting in discomfort. All of this can restrict and interfere with the agility and movement of your loved ones, causing them to have a higher risk of falling. Hence, be sure to ask them, or check, if they seem to be having foot pain or injuries. If it seems like they are indeed suffering from these issues, they can seek medical help. Doctors and other professionals can recommend treatment such as physiotherapy or Astym therapy, which works by replacing unwanted scar tissue with soft and healthy tissues.
Make Living Areas More Accessible
Finally, you can prevent fall risks by making some changes to your loved one’s living spaces. For one, you can use bright tape or sticky notes to mark out uneven surfaces and floors so that they know to avoid those areas. For example, areas of the house with loose floorboards. You can also consider installing handrails around staircases and by the bed to provide them with additional support. Clearing up unnecessary clutter around the house also decreases the chances of tripping and falling. Last but not least, place commonly used items in easily accessible areas.
All in all, while falling is a very real and scary possibility that worries most caregivers, it can be easily avoided by implementing a few of the suggested steps above!