July is Eye Injury Prevention Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more and more older adults are suffering from eye injuries due to falls. A study that looked at hospital inpatient admissions due to eye injuries found that 82 percent of people who had an eye injury as a secondary diagnosis got the injury because of a fall. The most common eye injury diagnosis was an orbital fracture, meaning the bone of the eye socket had been injured. Because so many eye injuries are due to falls, by taking steps to prevent your aging relative from falling, you can also protect their eyes. Below are some important steps to take to reduce the chances of your older family member suffering a dangerous fall.
Review Medications with the Doctor
Some medicines cause dizziness or other side effects that increase the risk of falling. Bring a complete list of all the medications and supplements the older adult is taking to the doctor. Ask if any of them pose a risk for falls. If so, find out if there are other medications that do the same thing, but don’t have such side effects.
Schedule an Eye Exam
Poor vision can lead to a fall. Older adults may trip over something they did not see or misjudge a step. Some vision problems make it difficult to see when light changes, such as going from outside in the bright sun into a darker building. If it’s been a while since the senior has had an eye exam, schedule one. Talk to the eye doctor about falls and what can be done in terms of eyewear to prevent them.
Increase Physical Activity
Exercise is important for keeping muscles strong and joints healthy. Some exercises, like Tai Chi, can also improve balance. If your aging relative is afraid to exercise because they worry about falling, talk to their doctor. Being afraid of falling in addition to not exercising increases the risk for falling. A doctor can refer them to a physical therapist who can help them to begin an exercise program that is safe for them.
Remove Hazards from the Home
There are lots of things around the house that can cause a fall, such as loose rugs and uneven surfaces. Take a walk around your older family member’s house and note things that could cause them to trip. Move furniture that sticks out into walkways. Clean up clutter, like shoes left lying around or stacks of newspapers or magazines.
Home care providers can assist with keeping your loved one safe from falls. A home care provider can help to keep the house tidy with no clutter lying around to trip on. Home care providers can also increase the physical activity of the older adult by driving them to an exercise class, taking walks with them, or monitoring them while they exercise at home, so they feel safe.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.