Walking Safety for the Elderly

April 10, 2018

“Steps you can take to keep your loved one safe!”

 

Getting older can be a challenge. There is the fight for continued independence, while the aging body, mind, or circumstances are influencing their desires and abilities. Decisions are made by the elderly individual for as long as possible. Due to some incident like a fall or safety issue, a family member then needs to step in and help with decisions concerning the safety of their loved one. The family is then searching for solutions in order to create a safe environment for their loved one as their needs and abilities change.

 

If you notice your loved one starting to lose strength and struggling to walk, it may be time to start considering different options. Today's topic is about ambulation safety. Why to keep them safe, how to keep them safe and when to encourage assistance.

 

Why to keep them safe:

A lot of problems can be avoided by preventing falls. The elderly's bones are more fragile. When they fall they are unable to catch themselves efficiently because their reflexes are slow and they can fall hard. Broken bones are painful and challenging to heal. For example, one of the main bone fractures in the elderly is the pelvic area or hipbone. Not only is it painful, but most of the time it has to be corrected with surgery and followed up with physical therapy. This can be very strenuous for the elderly and some recover better than others. Prevention of falls is the goal when helping to care for a loved one.

 

How to keep them safe:

Fairbrook Grove Assisted Living Home Mesa AZ has these things in place already but if you are wanting to keep your loved one home longer, here are some things you can do to make accommodations in your home for safety:

  • Clear Environmental Trip Hazards: Clear pathways of anything they could trip on. This could mean doing some rearranging of furniture and getting rid of some things to ensure they are kept safe. No extension cords, floor rugs or blankets or pillows hanging down off of the bed onto the floor. Make sure that trash and clutter is picked up continuously.

  • Create a Safe Bathroom: Prevent falls by adding extra grab bars in the bathroom next to the toilet and in the shower. Install a hand held shower nozzle and a shower chair to sit down so they don’t slip or lose their balance.  

  • Install Ramps to the outside instead of stairs. This would accommodate for those elderly needing wheelchairs, walkers or canes.

  • Encourage Strength Training Exercises. The elderly can lose muscle mass very quickly. It is important to keep them moving and active to keep their muscles strong. Having strong muscles helps stabilize them and have better balance. This helps them continue walking and having more independence. At Fairbrook Grove Assisted Living Home, we have strength training exercises every day.

  • Encourage Walkers and Canes around the house as well as when going out. A lot of elderly people remember to use their walking devices when they are out of the house, but are comfortable in their own home and don't use their walkers or canes. Most falls happen in the home and when they least expect it. Encouraging a loved one to always use their walker or cane will help them with balance and prevent falls in the home as well as out.

  • Wear Shoes that are safe. Purchasing shoes that are comfortable yet have better traction can prevent falls on smooth surfaces. Shoes that stay on their feet with something like Velcro instead of shoelaces can also prevent them from tripping.

  • Wearing Socks that do not slip. Non-slip socks with rubber grippers on the bottom can also help prevent falls.

  • Offer a Helping Hand. When someone has been sitting a long time they can struggle to get their balance or walk in the beginning. Helping someone stand and waiting until they feel stable can help a lot.

 

When to encourage assistance:

The overall safety of your loved one should be the main concern. What if they keep falling or stumbling too often? The next step would be to have someone come into the home 24/7 to offer the assistance needed.  This can cause burn out with a family member very quickly or it can be very expensive to hire in-home caregivers. 

 

Another option would be to find an Assisted Living situation like Fairbrook Grove Assisted Living Home in Mesa AZ.  This is a great option that offers safety and 24/7 care as well as a wonderful family environment for your loved one.  Fairbrook Grove families love the homey family feel that we offer. 

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