What To Do When Mom or Dad Has a Fall

One day, you are visiting your mom at her house because you have not seen her in a while.  You arrive at her house and walk in to see that she has fallen and is in pain.  Panic starts to overwhelm your mind and body.  You end up calling 911 and your mom received the medical attention she needs.  Then, she spends a few days in the hospital and returns home.  What do you do?  What if your mom has another fall and you’re not there to help her this time?  There are many ways you can help your senior parent if they fall and even help reduce their risk of falling in the future.  Below is what you can do when your mom or dad has a fall and how to help them avoid future falls altogether.

What to do When Mom or Dad Has a Fall

One helpful approach is having a Fall Response Strategy (FRS) in place so that you or another caregiver can be ready and quick when your senior parent falls.  An FRS outlines exactly what you should do after your senior parent has a fall and explains under which situations specific actions need to be taken.  It is important to have a plan in place just in case your parent has another fall.  This way, you are another caregiver do not have to panic or potentially do something that could end up being harmful to your parent.  However, the most important tip to remember is to not move your senior parent right away if they have fallen.  Moving them could make the situation worse if the situation is properly assessed.  Below is an example FRS for you to take when mom or dad has a fall:

If they are unconscious and nonresponsive:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Keep the individual as still as possible
  • Check vital signs (respiration, pulse rate, skin coloring, pupil dilation, etc)
  • Check for signs of bleeding and obvious injury (swelling, unusually positioned limbs)
  • Depending on the degree of injury, apply basic first aid
  • Stay by his/her side until medical help arrives

If they are conscious and responsive:

  • Keep him/her comfortable, relaxed and as still as possible
  • Ask if there is any discomfort, severe pain or throbbing in the head or light headedness
  • Check for signs of bleeding and obvious injury (swelling, unusually positioned limbs)
  • Depending on the degree of pain and injury, Apply First Aid and Call 911
  • Offer calming reassurance; use soothing and comforting words
  • If injury is not apparent, ask the person if he/she feels well enough to get up off the floor

How to Help Your Senior Parents Prevent Falls

Falls can be very physically and emotionally taxing on your senior parents and yourself.  Also, seniors become more susceptible to falls due to their age; therefore, your parents and you should be informed about falls.  Here are some tips on what to do when your mom or dad has a fall.

1.      Have Them Try Tai-Chi

The first way to help your mom or dad prevent future falls is have them start practicing Tai-Chi.  Tai-Chi is an ancient martial art form that has been proven to be extremely helpful in improving balance for seniors.  This activity involves slow and purposeful movement that coordinate with the senior’s breathing and muscle activity.  Researchers have found that seniors who perform tai-chi twice a week for one hour are 58% less likely to experience a fall. Tai-Chi helps the senior’s body figure out how to stay stable.  Many of the moves involve taking large steps in one direction or leaning forward with the upper body, which puts the seniors in a position of almost falling.  These moves help train the senior’s body to stay stable when in an off position.

2.      Pay Attention to Medications

Another way you can help your senior parents prevent falls in the future is to have you and your parents pay attention to the medications they take.  There are tons of medications out there can have either a positive or negative affect on a senior’s balance.  For example, medications that deal with sleep can have a very negative impact on a senior’s balance.  Metabolism slows down as a person ages, so the toxicity in some sleep medications builds up and causes dizziness.  Some doctors will say that the following medications are bad for balance:

  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Ambien
  • Benadryl
  • Advil PM

If your senior loved one has trouble sleeping but should work on their balance; doctors say that melatonin is a safe and effective sleep medication.

3.      Re-Accessorize Them

Also, you can help your parents to re-accessorize. There are many different accessories that could help a senior avoid falling.  Here are some ways on what accessories to add to your senior loved one’s life to help them prevent harmful falls:

  • Eyesight: avoid wearing bifocal or progressive lenses when walking around outside. They change your depth perception and can cause a senior to fall.  It is recommended to wear single-focus lens when walking around outside
  • Footwear: Do not wear high heels, slide-in sandals, slippers, or any shoe that does not have a back, a sole, or good tread.
  • Walking Assistance: using a walker, cane, or wheelchair around the house is nothing to be ashamed of and is actually very common for seniors to use. These accessories will help seniors to remain independent for an even longer period of time.

4.      De-Clutter Their House

Your parents have most likely lived in their home for a long time, which means they have accumulated many things around the house that would be considered clutter.  Clearing the house of clutter will help the senior to move around more freely and not worry about tripping over unnecessary items.  Here are a few tips to de-clutter a senior’s house to help them avoid falls:

  • Clear the house of any small rugs that are not necessary. It is very easy for a senior to trip and fall on a loose rug.
  • Get rid of any unnecessary wires or extension cords that run along the floor.
  • Eliminate any unnecessary furniture around the house that could cause the senior to trip/bump into and fall.
  • Clear all of the walkways in their home

5.      Make Sure They are Hydrated

In addition, make sure mom and dad are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  It is recommended that seniors drink eight glasses of water every day to stay hydrated.  Being dehydrated can cause dizziness which leads to falls.  Drinking lots of water every day is a great way to stay balanced and prevent harmful falls.

Visit Caregogi

Falling can be a terrifying and life changing event that can happen in a senior’s life that can also help to be prevented.  Home care is a solution that can help make home life much easier for any senior who has had a fall or might have a fall.  Home care can give the senior in your life the ability to remain independent at home by having the assistance of a compassionate caregiver who helps perform daily activities of living, like dressing, bathing, meal preparation, and much more. Caregogi provides home care for seniors by acting as an online matching service for seniors and independent caregivers. The best part is that Caregogi is half the cost of traditional agencies but still provides quality in home caregivers. Visit www.caregogi.com to find a caregiver that’s right for the senior in your life.

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