May 15, 2019
Aging is a natural process, but one that also comes with new challenges. Falls and medications are two of the most prominent safety concerns among older adults, but few people know how to prevent falls or medication issues from arising. Being aware of, and prepared for, these challenges can help you and your loved ones live longer, healthier, and safer lives well in to your “golden years.”
Falls are a major concern for aging adults and their caregivers. The National Council on Aging reports that every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Even adults who have not fallen, or have fallen but were not seriously injured, can become afraid of falling. You can prevent falls for yourself and your loved one by taking these simple precautions:
- Get regular check-ups, including an annual eye exam (poor vision can contribute to falls). Talk to your doctors about any concerns, physical or mental, that may contribute to a fall or fear of falling.
- Exercise to strengthen your core and increase balance.
- Prepare your home. Secure rugs, remove cords and wires from walkways, and ensure spaces are well lit. Install handrails wherever needed, and consider other in-home security devices if you feel they’re necessary.
Older adults, typically, take multiple medications to stay healthy and active. However, medications can also pose safety risks. The National Institute of Health recommends the following advice:
- Tell your doctors about all medications you’re taking, including vitamins and over-the-counter remedies, as certain drug combinations may be harmful to your health.
- When you start a new medication, write down its name, why it’s prescribed, and any doctor or pharmacist’s instructions for taking it.
- Be alert! Check all expiration dates on drug bottles and never take medications in the dark.