Senior Citizens and Fall Prevention

By Guest Writer: Ruth Rogers

Every year, many senior citizens have a fall.  Not all of the falls are devastating, but many of them are. Falls can cause broken or fractured bones, loss of motor function and independence, and even death. Unfortunately, many people just accept this as a normal aspect of aging. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent senior citizens from falling so they can maintain their independence.

There are many reasons that falls increase with age. To begin with, failing eyesight can cause a person to misjudge stairs and curbs, even when they are in a familiar location. Regular eye checks and screenings will alert you to issues with your loved one’s eyesight and help to keep them safe. Wearing  glasses is another way to prevent falls from poor eyesight. Even though your loved one might only be walking from their bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night, make sure to remind them to turn on the lights and put on their glasses.

Another way to prevent falls from vision problems is to remove trip hazards throughout the house. When caregiving, remember to check the home thoroughly for dangling cords or clutter that might be dangerous.

Even small changes like eating a better diet can help eyesight. Dark leafy veggies, fish oil, and vitamins E, A, and C are perfect for protecting  eye health.

Exercise is another way to reduce eye problems. Hardening of the arteries can lead to high blood pressure which can affect eyesight. Diabetes is another risk factor for reduced eyesight. Exercise can help with heart disease risks as well as circulation problems, which can greatly reduce the associated risk of sight loss.

Smoking is the second largest reason for the development of macular degeneration, so quitting smoking now will not only do wonders for the heart and blood flow, the skin tone and a lessened risk of cancer, but will also lower their risk of damage to your eyesight.

Balance exercises are also encouraged to lessen the risk of a fall. Have your loved one try balancing on one foot and then the other for a few moments.  Make sure that there is a table or chair nearby in case they are a bit wobbly, but you will find that just a little bit of practice will help to restore their balance and to safeguard you from a dangerous fall.

The process of aging is already tough on the eyes as they are less able to produce tears and the lenses are not as clear as they once were. Focusing can become difficult and sensitivity to glare increases. All of these factors add up to the increased risk of a fall and it is vital that your loved one does all that they can to preserve their eyesight so that they can avoid a fall.


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