Post-Fall Care For Seniors, Plus Helpful Fall Prevention Tips
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of injuries for seniors in the U.S. Further, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls every year. A major fall can be a watershed moment that causes the person and their loved ones to re-think safety in the home and ask whether a higher level of support is needed. Being prepared and knowing what questions to ask can help bring peace of mind all-around.
If you want to protect the senior in your life after a fall, keep reading for information about what to do immediately, when to contact their doctor, and more. You’ll also learn how to prevent and avoid dangerous falls in the future.
What to do after a fall
To learn how to immediately handle a fall, it’s helpful to read articles like How to Safely Pick a Loved One (or Yourself) Up After a Fall.
However, if your loved one may have a serious injury, like a broken bone, you should always call 911 first. Focus on keeping them calm and comfortable and don’t try to move them.
After a fall, notify your senior’s doctor immediately, even if nothing appears to be wrong. They’ll explain any other next steps you should take, like monitoring pain or watching for bruising. You should also schedule a post-fall checkup, where the doctor might assess:
- New illnesses that may have contributed to the fall
- Blood pressure
- Blood tests
- Current medications
- Balance and gait
- Vision, heart health, and more
Even if your loved one just took a simple stumble, a checkup will rule out any potential underlying conditions or issues could have caused the fall.
How to prevent an aging loved one from falling
The good news is that being proactive with fall prevention is an excellent way to help your senior retain their quality of life. Your first task is to do a home safety assessment.
Use this Home Safety Self-Assessment Tool from the University at Buffalo to guide your assessment. You can print off the PDF document, then use it to find and fix any hazards throughout every room in their home.
The checklist is helpful because it points out safety issues you might not normally think about, like:
- Busy patterns on carpeting that cause a visual distraction
- Cluttered areas that make it difficult to maneuver
- Chairs that are too low or too high
- The height of their bed
- Area rugs and throw rugs, which pose a tripping hazard
The Assessment Tool also includes solutions for each risk factor, enabling you to quickly make your loved one’s home safer.
Post-hospital considerations after a serious fall
If your senior suffered a serious fall that required a hospital stay, additional support may be required after discharge. Some families opt for an inpatient stay at a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center when there are medical needs that still require attention. Other seniors want to return home, so they choose in-home health care services to help them gain back strength, but it is important to consider that your loved one may still be home alone for lengths of time with this option.
A respite stay in an assisted living community is another excellent option, particularly when skilled nursing is not required but general assistance is of value. Your senior will receive assistance with daily living tasks like cooking and housekeeping, help with errands and activities, and so much more.
Respite stays facilitate healthy post-fall recovery while also giving seniors the opportunity to “try out” assisted living without the need for a long-term commitment. Often, once someone has tried a respite stay and enjoyed the social support and activities of an assisted living community, they choose to move-in full time.
To determine which type of care is best for your loved one, we strongly encourage speaking with their doctor about post-fall options. Your senior’s medical providers can help weigh the pros and cons of each care type, allowing you to make a thoughtful decision that ensures a successful recovery.
As a local nonprofit, The Argyle has brought high quality and affordable care to Denver’s seniors since 1874. To this day, our caring team remains committed to encouraging independence and preserving the dignity of every resident who calls our community home.