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Is falling inevitable as your parents age?

As an adult child of aging parents, you likely have many things you want to help your parents consider while planning for the future. Pre-determining how they want to meet their medical needs may require a great deal of thought, conversation and documentation.

Unfortunately, no matter how much planning you do, your parents could fall and suffer injuries. Even if they live in a well-staffed nursing home, you may want to do all you can to decrease your parents’ chances of falling.

5 ways you can reduce the chances of falling among the elderly

It is extremely common for older adults to fall. Weakened muscles and trouble walking account for roughly 24% of falls for residents in American nursing homes, and falls take the lives of 20% of adults aged 65 and over.

Although you cannot prevent every fall, and likely are not able to personally provide around-the-clock care for your aging parents, there are some ways you can work with your parents to prevent falls.

The reminders you can give your parents to reduce their chances of falling include:

  • Stay hydrated. Although this will inevitably increase visits to the restroom, staying adequately hydrated can help fight dizziness.
  • Remove tripping hazards. Rugs, cords and clutter can be hazardous, especially for people who have gait issues.
  • Stay physically active. Working on strength and balance can improve stability within your body.
  • Forego sleeping pills. Sedatives often cause dizziness. If your parents need help sleeping, you can ask a doctor about using melatonin instead.
  • Evaluate shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can cause your foot to slip. And while some shoes may be easier for your parents to slide on, they could also be the cause of a fall.

Despite your best efforts to help your parents, they could still fall; in some cases, this could be the result of negligence. Your parents could potentially fall due to a poorly-maintained wheelchair, bed that is adjusted incorrectly, wet floor or insufficient lighting.

Remaining aware of your parents’ progress and their level of care could help you determine the cause of any fall-related injuries they experience. However, if you believe one of your parents fell due to the negligence of their caregiver, you would be wise to explore not only the kind of care provided but also your legal options in holding their nursing home accountable.

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