Falls are the single most important reason we lose our independence as we age. Even a minor fall may create the need for crutches or worse. For seniors, falls in the home are a leading cause of hospital stays and major falls can sometimes be fatal.
Fall Prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Our nurses, caretakers, your family, your friends and our client! Our caretakers are trained in fall prevention. How can Professional Caretakers help prevent a fall?
Our caretakers know seniors and fall prevention safety and can monitor your senior for safety when you cannot be there. Your senior will have an extra set of eyes and hands to ensure their safety. Our caretaker can walk with your loved one and help steady them with their arm or a gait bet. Your caretaker can remind and encourage the senior to use walkers, canes or other assistive devices. They can make sure they navigate stairs and steps, their hands are free to use the handrails, and that the senior is not distracted but focused on the task at hand. Everyone’s blood pressure drops when they first stand. For seniors with blood pressure problems this can mean momentary loss of balance, dizziness or vertigo. Our caretakers can be there to remind them to get up slowly and deliberately.
By far, most falls happen in the bathroom. Our personal care services can help prevent falls in the shower or bath. A bath is fraught with slippery surfaces and awkward movements. Some seniors just need a caretaker to standby and be their when needed, like when getting in and out or getting a towel. Others require more help. Seniors with memory problems may need verbal cues to complete the task. Bath chairs and lifts are sometimes critical if the senior is not able to stand or walk. Even in this situation our caretakers can help the senior bathe safely. Just having someone around can prevent a fall.
Many falls happen when a senior is in a hurry, like when they need to use the restroom. Our caretaker can help them maintain regular toileting and remind them before bedtime to make a trip. Seniors often avoid liquids and proper nutrition because they want to limit bathroom stops. However this can be very dangerous because hydration and proper nutrition are key to preventing dizziness and light headedness. Our caretakers ensure proper hydration and nutrition. This can be especially important at night when they may be sleepy and not clear headed. Obstructions like pillows and bedding become a tripping hazard in a time of urgency. We recommend bed side rails if they are warranted. It gives them time to wake before they start their run to the toilet. It also prevents falls that may occur during sleep, in the middle of the night. Our caretakers can use baby cameras to monitor that your senior is resting peacefully. Our caretaker is there to respond to client’s calls quickly so that your senior does not attempt to get out of bed by themselves. We always encourage motion night lights to improve visibility at night along common walkways and in the bathroom.
Our light housekeeping services help maintain clear pathways and clean sticky spots on the floor. Your caretaker can also help identify loose rugs or stepping hazards. They also clear clutter and make sure extension cords are out of the way. They also perform a lot of the chores your loved one might attempt. The caretaker can get the mail, tidy up, take the trash out, etc. Or they can do it together.
We even take care of pets! Feeding the pets can be a real tripping hazard if the senior tries to complete this task. My dogs and cats get excited and love to walk around and between my legs at feeding time.
Exercises are key to ensuring your loved one does not fall.
Your caretaker can help with exercises prescribed by the Physical Therapist. They can stand by, count, encourage and ensure they are doing them according to the description. One of the best sit to stand exercises can be done on the toilet while our caretaker assists. We can also take them to Silver Sneakers or Matter of Balance classes offered by many YMCAs.
Our transportation and errand services ensure that your senior can participate in social activities. When they do have errands or just want to get out it’s preferable to have a caretaker that is familiar with seniors and fall prevention. And it’s about the cost of a taxi or Uber. We take many clients safely to doctor appointments, rehab, shopping centers, beauty parlor, their bridge game or even their favorite restaurant.
Our caretakers are great! However, they cannot prevent all potential falls. Falls may occur while attended or unattended. The caretaker may not be with the client at all times because of the client’s prescribed schedule or because of required breaks. Even if the caretaker is present, they may be unable to physically catch the client who is falling.