Fall Prevention Tips Family Caregivers Need to Know

Fall Prevention Tips Family Caregivers Need to Know

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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The statistics on falls among seniors are startling: one in three older adults experiences a fall every year. Falls are the leading cause of injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, among seniors. Once an older adult experiences a fall, they are two to three times more likely to fall again. For the senior and their loved ones, the dangers associated with falling are downright frightening.

Fall prevention begins with learning more about what commonly causes a senior to fall.

6 Leading Reasons Older Adults Experience a Fall

Here’s what experts say can cause a senior to fall:

  1. Environment: If your loved one lives in an older home, it probably wasn’t designed with senior safety in mind. Another issue is that older adults are often unable to maintain a home properly to keep it safe. Uneven stair treads, poor lighting, worn carpeting, slippery tile, and outdated bathrooms can all put the senior at higher risk for a fall.
  2. Poor nutrition: Seniors who have difficulty planning and preparing healthy meals are at higher risk for poor nutrition and falls. Sometimes an older adult might have problems cutting and chopping healthy foods because of a health condition like arthritis. For other seniors, it might be a lack of transportation to the grocery store that causes them to rely on convenience foods, such as frozen dinners and canned goods, which are often high in fat and sodium and low in nutritional value. It can all add up to a senior who is weaker and less steady on their feet.
  3. Lack of exercise: Older adults often have a friend who has been seriously injured in a fall. It can frighten the senior enough to cause them to limit their physical activity. They believe doing so will decrease their risk for falling, while the opposite is actually the truth. Unless their physician has them on restricted activity, a physical fitness routine that combines strength training, balance, flexibility, and endurance can help them stay strong and avoid a fall.
  4. Dehydration: Older adults sometimes suffer from dehydration without even realizing it. Chronic health conditions and medication side effects can all contribute to dehydration. This can make them unsteady and at risk for a fall.
  5. Vision loss: Cataracts, glaucoma, and an outdated pair of glasses are common issues older adults encounter. These types of vision problems can lead to falls, especially in a house with poor lighting.
  6. Medication problems: Older adults process medication differently than younger adults. It puts them at higher risk to experience adverse reactions and side effects. Dizziness and drowsiness that can sometimes result may lead to a fall.

Fall Prevention for Older Adults

A few steps adult children and family caregivers can take to keep a senior loved one safe include:

  • Home safety evaluation: Conduct a room-by-room safety evaluation of your senior loved one’s home. Look for potential fall hazards, such as throw rugs in the bathroom or a burned out light at the top of a stairway. Talk with your family member’s primary care physician if you need a referral for a professional who can help you complete this task.
  • Review medications: Another tip is to create a list of all the medications your loved one takes (prescription and over-the-counter) and set up a time to review them with the pharmacist. They can help you identify potential problems, if there are any.
  • Improve their diet: A well-balanced diet is one of the keys to aging well. If the senior you love is having trouble eating a balanced diet, talk with them to learn what their challenges are. You might want to consider a home delivered meal service—like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron—or a local Meals on Wheels program.
  • Eye exam: Check with your family member to see how long it has been since they had an eye exam. Experts say an annual exam is important for the eye doctor to identify and address potential vision problems early. While Medicare won’t pay for an eye exam, Medicare Part B does pay for some vision care.

Lessons from the Blue Zones

Interested in learning more about aging well? Download the Vitality Senior Living Guide to Aging Well to explore how people in the Blue Zones of the world live longer, healthier lives.

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