If you care for someone in your family who has medical issues, give yourself a big hug and pat on the back because you are appreciated!
This month, we celebrate the family caregivers of Clermont County. Caring for family members with health issues can be a rewarding, yet difficult and stressful undertaking. While the diagnoses may be different, many caregivers experience similar challenges: isolation, lack of information, few community resources, and drastic changes in family roles. One thing that is constant between caregivers is that they want to provide the best help and support for their loved ones while keeping them as independent as possible. This is why caregivers play such a critical role in fall prevention among older adults.
Family caregivers can help prevent falls among older adults in a variety of ways. One way is to be an advocate for your loved one’s health during doctor visits and major health decisions like medications. Make sure to talk to the doctor and pharmacist about how the medications, over-the-counter drugs and supplements could interact with each other.
If any of them could cause dizziness, fatigue or nausea. Ask about alternative medication that won’t have side effects that put the older adult at risk for falling. It is also important to make sure that they are taking the correct dose at the proper time. Failure to take medications as directed may cause negative health outcomes.
Walk through the older adult’s home and assess if any hazards are present. Fall hazards inside the home could be: exposed wires/cords running across the ground, rugs and mats that do not have a gripped underside, poor lighting throughout the home, piles of clothes or papers stacked up on the ground or stairs, no railings along the staircase, no grab bars in the bathroom, and toilet seats that are too low to make the home safer.
Keep cords and wires out of the walking path or connect that appliance directly to a wall outlet. Buy rugs and mats that have a gripped underside. Add easily accessible lamps, nightlights and wall switches that light up at night. Put away clothes as needed. Go through stacks of papers and file them, act on them or throw them away to reduce clutter.
Hire a professional to install stair railings and grab bars in the bathroom. Consider switching to raised toilet seat. To decrease falls outside of the home, be sure to check that the walkway’s surfaces’ are even and without cracks.
Another safety tip is to line the walkway with solar lights which help to decrease falls that occur at night. Also, keep garden hoses wound up or think about switching to a soaker hose that runs through the flower beds and stays there.
Thank you again to all family caregiver’s who help older adults maintain their independence and live out healthy lives!
Visit the Senior Safety webpage at clermonthealthdistrict.org/SeniorSafety.aspx for more ideas about how to help keep your loved ones free of falls.
Visit the Family Caregiver Alliance webpage for additional support and resources at www.caregiver.org.