How to Reduce Your Loved One’s Fall Risk in Assisted Living
About a year ago, my husband’s dad took a tumble that left him with a broken wrist. It was the final straw in what had been a long, back and forth decision-making process on whether he should be moved out of his longtime home and into assisted living.
While we wanted him to be able to stay at home, we also knew that he had gotten lucky during this first fall. Had he bumped his head or broken a hip, he would have been left in much worse shape.
And though we certainly felt that he would be much safer in assisted living, we knew that his risk of falling again could never be completely eliminated. So, I did some research to figure out how we could work with the staff members at his facility to make sure he was as protected as possible.
Here are a few useful tips for anyone moving a loved one into assisted living:
1. Ask staff members to monitor them based on their medical needs.
Get to know the staff members at the facility and make sure they’re aware of any health issues that could lead to a fall. For example, A Place For Mom notes that seniors with conditions such as cognitive impairments and diabetes may be at a higher risk for falling. And there may be other aspects of their health that you know about but that doctors might not have noted in medical charts. For example, if you know your loved one sometimes gets light-headed when they stand up, let staff members know so that they can keep a close eye on them.
2. Request a fall risk assessment.
If your loved one has had some close calls or if you’re simply concerned their risk of falling has increased, ask the medical staff at the facility to perform a fall risk assessment. By examining them specifically with fall risk in mind, using a tool such as the Fall Risk Assessment Tool, everyone will have a better idea of what additional care or monitoring might be necessary for keeping your loved one safe.
3. Make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise.
The staff members at the assisted living facility will certainly do their best to monitor your loved one, but it’s important to take steps on your own as well. One area where family members can play a huge role is making sure their loved one is getting plenty of exercise. There are many excellent types of exercise for seniors, but if you aren’t sure where to start, swimming is a great option. As this guide on swimming’s health benefits for seniors explains, it offers a safe way for them to work on balance while they strengthen muscles and improve heart health.
4. Get a medication review when your loved one is given any new prescriptions.
Many seniors are on several medications and each medication likely has its own negative side effects. This guide on fall prevention suggests getting a medication review by a pharmacist each time your loved one is prescribed a new medication. The review will reveal side effects that could lead to a fall.
Falls do not have to be an inevitable part of aging. If your loved one is moving to an assisted living facility, take these steps to ensure that their transition is fall-free so that they can thrive in their new environment.
Guest Post by Vee Cecil
Vee Cecil has a passion for wellness. She loves studying the topic and sharing her findings on her recently-launched blog. She is also a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor.