While some health care providers, nurses, therapists even family members are usually around to lend a hand during the day, fewer people are typically available after hours if someone needs help. The employees at Accredited Home Care are always happy to let potential clients know about available services that can help people any time of the day or night.
Why this is important is that having someone there all the time can be especially useful in the event that someone falls, injures themselves and needs help. If a person only receives home health care during the day, or even every few days, a fall that no one knows about or responds to can become potentially more dangerous and cause more complications, even death.
On the other hand, having a caregiver nearby can help a client keep their balance by asking for help and walking with them. Or if they do fall, they’ll be able to receive help right away, rather than hours or days later. A faster response can make a significant difference in certain types of fall-related injuries such as concussions or broken bones.
Falls and related balance problems are increasingly dangerous as people age. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries in older adults. As many as 1 in 4 Americans age 65 and older are expected to fall.
The council also reports that falls annually result in 2.8 million emergency room visits and 27,000 deaths nationwide, and collectively costs $31 billion.
Learn more about falls
The number of falls is also expected to rise as the population ages, and could collectively cost $67 billion by 2020.
Falls aren’t necessarily a direct result of aging for every senior, but many seniors do have weaker balance, poor flexibility and slower healing time as they age. Some will discover that significant injuries from a fall may affect their independence or require them to be in the hospital or relocate somewhere for long term outside of the home, such as an assisted living center.
Since many seniors prize their independence and ability to live on their own, a fall can be devastating mentally as well as physically.
A fear of falling also can limit physical or social activities, everything from visiting with friends or going for a walk in the park.
So it’s generally a smart idea to look for ways to reduce the possibility of falls.
The National Institute of Aging said there are a variety of factors that can increase the risk of falls or greater damage from falls for all ages, especially seniors, including slower reflexes; changed reactions from medications or other health conditions; weaker eyesight or hearing; or more safety hazards in the home.
Blood pressure changes can also cause falls, such as from getting up from a lying or sitting position. Even problems with footwear can impact your balance and standing abilities.
Dementias can also increase the possibility of falls as someone may forget where certain items and furnishings in the house are located, especially in the dark.
Lowering the risk
Even though there are a variety of ways that falls can happen, there are some different ways that they can be reduced.
- Get your vision and hearing checked. Even if you swear you’re seeing and hearing fine, a provider of these services can help make an official determination. He or she can also prescribe assistive devices if needed, such as a hearing aid or changing your glasses prescription.
- Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if any medicine you’re taking may have side effects that can affect balance, flexibility, blood pressure or other changes that can trigger falls, such as sleepiness or dizziness.
- Look at how much alcohol you typically consume and consider reducing it. While it might help relax you, alcohol can impact you physically and cause falls.
- Find or create an exercise program, especially something that builds muscles and keeps joints, tendons, and ligaments active. This can even be as simple as regular walking, preferably walking up and down stairs on a regular basis. This sort of activity, especially on a daily basis, can help heart rate and blood pressure and reduce any sort of bone or muscle loss. Physical therapy can also help.
- Look at where you’re walking. Wet or icy surfaces may require different walking skills or footwear than walking inside your home. For instance, something with non-skid shoes or thicker boots can be handy for walking in the yard. Walking in socks may be comfortable, but could prove slippery on surfaces that don’t have carpet. A cane or walker might also provide extra support.
- Communicate with your doctor or health professional regularly. He or she might have suggestions to lower your risk, or want to assess your condition from any falls you may have had even if you didn’t think they caused you any harm.
Home Health can help
Accredited Home Care will be happy to discuss these options with Pasadena residents to find strategies that work well for you and your family, including utilizing the services of 24-hour caregivers.