Minimising your loved ones' risk of falls
Are your parents getting older and more prone to falling? Here are some tips to help them safely manage daily life.
- low blood pressure
- vision problems
- foot problems such as bunions
- loss of feeling in the feet (sometimes caused by diabetes)
- parkinson’s disease
- prescription drugs
- sleeping tablets
- medicine for allergies
- cold and flu drugs containing antihistamines
- painkillers, especially strong kinds
How can you help prevent falls?
Physical activity helps maintain strong muscles and good balance. Your loved one should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, and combine activities like walking, swimming and dancing with strength-training exercise with weights. Both will help to improve bone strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and their risk of breaking a bone. Speak to your parents’ doctor for advice on suitable exercises.
Contact your local council to find out about activities in your area. Look for exercise programs that are specifically for older people. Tai chi is a great example of a form of exercise that can help improve balance.
Making the home safer is really important. Remove things that are easy to trip over, like rugs or clothing. Install handrails, use non-slip mats in the bathroom and improve lighting. Ensure your parents wear well-fitting shoes inside and outside the house.
Speak to your parents' doctor regularly about any medication your parents are taking. The body's reaction to certain medication can change over time, and certain combinations can cause dizziness or drowsiness, and therefore falls.
Have your parents’ eyes checked regularly and make sure your parents are careful on steps if they wear bifocals or multi-focals, as they can make it harder for them to judge where to put their feet.
With appropriate fall prevention measures like exercise or medication management, you can minimise your parents’ risk of falling, keeping them safe and active well into their older years. Always consult your doctor if you think you parents might be increasing their risk of a fall.