How Do Fall Prevention Programs Benefit Senior Living?
Fall prevention programs benefit senior living by reducing the risk of serious injury or death, improving mobility, and helping residents feel happier with their quality of life.
What’s the biggest threat to older adults who want to enjoy a happy, healthy, active life in a senior living community? If you guessed a worsening chronic health care condition, memory loss, or coming down with an infectious disease, you’d be wrong.
The little known fact is that something as simple as a fall - whether it’s in the shower, tripping on steps, or getting out of bed - is the #1 cause of injuries and death among older adults: That’s why most senior living communities have developed robust fall prevention programs designed to help keep residents safe and healthy so they can enjoy their lives to the fullest.
The most effective fall prevention programs that benefit senior living follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) principles that include:
- Screening – This process figures out which residents have fall-risk factors and who would benefit most from follow-up attention. A staff member might ask you or your senior loved one questions like:
- Do you worry about falling?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- How many times have you fallen?
- Were you injured in any of your falls?
- Assessment – If you or your senior are identified as being at a higher risk for falling, the next step is looking at their current state in terms of strength, gait, and balance. They will check their general medical condition, check for drugs that might make them unsteady, and assess whether they have a chronic disease like diabetes or a heart condition. Other assessments will check whether the person experiences a sudden drop in blood pressure when they stand up, whether they have vision or foot problems, and evaluate what kind of shoes they wear. Another assessment is asking about incontinence: Needing to frequently get up and go to the bathroom - especially in the middle of the night - can greatly increase the chances of falling.
- Intervention – Once risk factors have been identified, they need to be addressed. Depending on the results of the assessment, you or your loved one may need to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about adjusting medications that might be causing sleepiness, blood pressure fluctuations, or confusion. Getting glasses or adjusting a prescription may help them judge distance better and see tripping hazards more clearly. Switching from house slippers to shoes with sturdy soles and good arch and heel support can also reduce the risk of falling. An occupational therapist might be called in to work on balance and strength training. Residents who struggle with incontinence may want to follow a timed schedule for going to the bathroom or meet with a physical therapist who can show them how to do pelvic floor exercises that can reduce the need to use the restroom.
Aside from reducing the risk of serious injury or death, fall prevention programs benefit senior living by making it easier to do enjoyable things like going to dinner with friends, walking for exercise, and being happier with their overall quality of life.
MorningStar Senior Living
If your loved one lives far from family and friends, it could be time to move into a senior living community near their adult children where they’ll have the companionship of fellow seniors and a compassionate service team. At MorningStar Senior Living, a 24/7 team is dedicated to offer care and hospitality services that meet each resident’s social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.