5 Ways to Protect Your Aging Parents from Falls

Falls pose a real danger for older adults. According to the National Council on Aging, one-third of seniors over 65-years-old fall every year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal injuries and serious, hospitalizing injuries in seniors. Any concerns you have about an aging parent falling is legitimate. Here are five ways you can help protect them from falls.

1. Ask Whether Your Parent Has Talked with Their Doctor

When you have a chance, mention how common falls are and ask your parent if their doctor has discussed fall prevention with them. This is a non-threatening way to broach the subject and give your parent an opportunity to discuss any concerns they have with you. You might also be able to find out what recommendations their healthcare providers have made.

If they’re uncomfortable talking to you about the risk of falling, they may have a terse reply and try to redirect the conversation—but then ask a doctor they’re more comfortable talking to about medical issues. You could even encourage them to ask their doctor at their next appointment, even if they try to change the subject.

A doctor is the perfect person for your parent to talk to about the risk of falling. Doctors are qualified to assess the potential risks of falling, and they may have some recommendations on ways to mitigate those risks.

2. Have Your Parent See a Vision Specialist

Poor vision makes getting around difficult and greatly increases the likelihood of falling. If your parent hasn’t had their vision checked recently, have them make an appointment with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Either one will be able to assess vision and prescribe corrective lenses. If your parent protests that they don’t have vision insurance, offer to pay the bill yourself. Many places offer inexpensive exams and specials on glasses or contacts.

3. Get a Cane or Walker for Your Parent

If your parent is having trouble getting around, it may be time to get them a cane or walker. They might find such a device inconvenient or embarrassing at first so you may want to stress that it will let them move about more confidently and independently. Show them that the cane or walker can help them keep doing the things they enjoy, whether that’s going out to eat or just getting up to make a cup of coffee at home.

4. Install Railings in Stairways and Bathrooms

While a cane or walker can help, it’s hard to use them in stairways and bathrooms. Installing extra railings in these areas will make it easier for your parent to get up and down the stairs (if they have any) and use the restroom—and installing railings is much less expensive than putting in a lift or remodeling a bathroom.

Don’t be afraid to put multiple railings in each space. A railing on each side of the stairs will let your parent stabilize themselves with each hand. In a bathroom, there should be railings near the toilet, around the sink and in the shower, at minimum.

5. Sign Your Parent Up with a Medical Alert System

If your aging parent lives alone or is at high risk of falling, help them sign up with a medical alert system. They’ll get a device that they can wear at all times. If they do fall, they can easily use the device and to get help from local first responders.

If you have an aging parent, it’s important to do what you can to protect them from falls. Your efforts may just save them from a life-altering injury.

 

80 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

Good advice, thank you

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Wendi M.
Wendi Mabout a year ago

TYFS

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

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Trish K.
Trish Kabout a year ago

I have a cane, I need to remember to use it. I have sudden vision changes, and I tip a little. But, everyday I get up and do what I can and help others if I can.

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Shirley S.
Shirley Sabout a year ago

We must lift our feet up when we walk.

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Ama A.
Amanda Aabout a year ago

Thank you

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Muhammad K.
Muhammad Kabout a year ago

Thanks for posting

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Julie W.
Julie Wabout a year ago

I'm the aging parent, and very aware of this. Wanting to improve my balance, I went to a Tai Chi class, but she went so fast from one move to another my memory couldn't retain the information. Maybe there is a DVD I could watch at my own pace? Having osteoporosis, I'm wary of falls and walk carefully. Those medic alerts are expensive, but a good idea. There are ongoing costs.

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

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