Seniors & Falling: Part 2 Tips To Prevent Seniors from Falling

Falls can occur for many different reasons, but fortunately there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken by personal as well as professional caregivers to significantly reduce a senior’s risk of falling and incurring a serious injury. Preventing a fall is something to take seriously. I have seen firsthand how a fall many times results in long recovery times. Making sure my loved one doesn’t fall should be on the top priority list for anyone looking after seniors who are fall risks. I am going to provide some tips below, but I want to first make sure people are aware of what the intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors are that cause falls in the home and what the difference is between them. Intrinsic risk factors pertain to the client’s own body as well as the effects of aging and extrinsic risk factors pertain to the client’s home environment. Now that we know the difference, let’s look at a list of both intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. 

Intrinsic Risk Factors Personal Risk Factors 

• Advanced age of 65+ 

• History of previous fall(s) Acute Medical Conditions 

• Low blood pressure/orthostatic hypotension 

• Stroke 

• Seizure Chronic Medical Conditions 

• Parkinson’s disease 

• Arthritis 

• Meniere’s disease 

• Poorly controlled diabetes or epilepsy 

• Brain disorders Chronic Medical Conditions 

• Cataracts 

• Glaucoma 

• Heart rhythm abnormalities 

• Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias 

• Osteoporosis Physical Conditions 

• Balance and gait (unsteady manner and style of walking) 

• Musculoskeletal system − Muscle atrophy due to limited physical activity − Joint stiffness due to calcification of tendons and ligaments − Increased curvature of the spine associated with inability to maintain balance and proper posture 

• Mental status − Impaired memory − Confusion − Disorientation 

• Vision − Decline in visual acuity − Decreased night vision − Altered depth perception − Decline in peripheral vision − Glare intolerance − Dizziness

Extrinsic Risk Factors/Home EnvironmentCondition of Ground Surfaces 

•Uneven walkways

• Floor coverings with loose or thick-pile carpeting, loose mats or sliding rugs, upended linoleum or tile flooring, highly polished or wet ground surfaces 

• Clutter, personal items or pets in pathways Bathtubs and Toilets (i.e., equipment without support, such as grab bars) Design of Furnishings (i.e., height of chairs or beds and lack of handrails on stairs) Illumination Conditions (i.e., low intensity or high glare) Extrinsic Risk Factors/Medications Polypharmacy (takes 4 or more medications) 

• Drug-drug interactions and side effects 

• Cardiac medications 

• Hypoglycemic agents Affects the Central Nervous System 

• Sedatives/hypnotics 

• Antihypertensives/diuretics 

• Analgesics 

• Antidepressants 

• Alcohol Can Cause Urgency in Elimination (i.e., laxatives and diuretics) Can Cause Postural Hypotension (i.e., antihypertensive and diuretics) Treatment Supplies (i.e., tubing for IV medication or oxygen therapy) Extrinsic Risk Factors/Other Type and Condition of Footwear 

• Improperly-fitting shoes from edema or other foot problems 

• Heavy orthopedic shoes 

• Incompatible soles − Rubber crepe soles which may stick to linoleum floor surfaces − Slippery soles − High heels Assistive Devices 

• Improper use of device (i.e., bedside rails left up resulting in fall risk from patient climbing over) 

• Inadequate assistive devices and lifting devices 

• Canes (i.e., wrong height, worn tips, improper use) 

• Walkers (i.e., wrong height, broken, wrong type, does not fit home environment) 

• Wheelchairs (i.e., brakes not properly working, which can impair transferring techniques and activities)

First and foremost I want to say, Consult Your Doctor, falls and fractures are not an inevitable part of growing older, and many can be prevented. Your doctor can assess your risk of falling and suggest personalized strategies for improving mobility and preventing injury and then a caregiver can help to keep you or your loved one on track with the personalized strategy. Remember, there are minor changes and home modifications that can significantly reduce seniors from falling. Below is a list of some preventive measures you can take. 

Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is the first line of defense against falls and fractures. As people get older, they typically become less active and begin to lose muscle mass and tone. This leads to a decrease in strength, coordination, and flexibility and an increase in fall risk. Work with a doctor or physical therapist to create a exercise program that is right for yourself or an aging loved one.  A regular exercise regimen can help seniors improve their stamina and mobility, regardless of their age.

Create a Fall-Proof Environment

A loss of footing (tripping) and traction (slipping) is to blame for most falls. An ideal, fall-proof home environment features even, non-slip walking surfaces throughout. Make an effort to keep rooms free of clutter, especially the floors and walkways

Keep floor surfaces clean and dry but not slippery.

Check that all carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backing or are firmly secured to the floor, including carpeting on stairs. Be sure that all stairwells are adequately lit and have sturdy handrails on both sides. A good tip is to put fluorescent tape on the edges of each step to avoid missteps. Install grab bars on bathroom walls beside tubs, showers and toilets. I have heard some horror stories regarding the suction cup hand bars so beware of those, they may seem strong, but can fail when you need it most. 

Use non-slip strips to provide added traction on the floors of showers and bathtubs since the bathroom is one of the most common place falls occur among seniors. Make sure that light switches are located near the entry points of each room to prevent fumbling in the dark. Another option is to install voice- or sound-activated lamps. Reorganize closets, cabinets and other storage areas to minimize the need to bend down or reach up to retrieve commonly used items. Consider hiring a professional organizer and mover. I will list a personal contact below.

Use The Proper Mobility Aids

A lot of people have a mentality of saying that they’re fine and don’t need to use the walker, cane, etc even though these mobility aids can save them from an unnecessary fall. 

Choose Appropriate Footwear

Seniors often have a favorite pair of shoes or slippers, but if they’re worn out it can cause a serious fall. Make sure to avoid walking around in socks, stockings, or backless slippers.

Receive Regular Eye Exams

Seniors that have difficulty seeing are more prone to falling. Encourage aging loved ones to wear their eyeglasses and whatever else so they can see their surroundings clearly. Regular eye exams are so important for ensuring a senior is wearing the correct prescription and also screening for eye diseases.

Manage Medications Properly

As we get older, we’re more likely to suffer from a variety of medical conditions that require medications. Seniors with illnesses that affect their circulation, sensation, mobility or mental alertness are more likely to fall. Certain prescriptions cause side effects, such as dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, fluctuations in blood pressure or slowed reflexes, all of which can contribute to a fall as well. Over-the-counter medications and supplements can cause problems as well, so be sure to include these when talking to your doctor. 

Falls Should Never Remain Secret

Even though one in every four adults aged 65 and older experience a fall each year, unfortunately fewer than half of these individuals tell their physician about it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seniors sometimes are afraid to tell people because they’re both embarrassed and can also see the impending reliance on others for assistance. It’s natural to want to keep these incidents a secret, but doing so may only make things worse later on. 

Awareness of this problem can help family members work together to come up with solutions and make a senior’s home a safer place. This is especially important if falls are occurring more frequently. Small modifications like reducing clutter and installing grab bars can make a tremendous difference. 

Regardless of whether it is you or your aging loved one who experiences a fall, it’s essential to notify a doctor about the event. He or she can make sure no injuries were sustained and suggest ways to prevent future falls. Stay tuned for tips on Safely Picking a Loved One (or Yourself) Up After a Fall.

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Seniors need attention and love during the holidays, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, some people forget to visit their loved ones during the busiest times of the year. 

Finding ways to take care of seniors during the holidays is extremely important. Doing so involves helping them with their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Let’s look into the ways you can take care of seniors during the holiday season.

Hire a Service

Some seniors might not be able to help themselves with different tasks such as:

  • Mobility to go places
  • Remembering important details and schedules
  • Assistance with motor skills

Whatever you may need, we here at Senior Care Companions can help. We offer various services to help seniors each day. You can find assistants to help them 24/7, or just a few hours of the day.


While you should help seniors when you can, you may need professional help. After all, you can’t be at their sides 24/7, so see if you can find a reliable service to look after them.

Plan Fun Activities

Seniors can face boredom during the holidays, especially if they don’t have people to spend time with them. Coming up with fun activities you can do with one another is important to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Potential activities include:

  • Sit down and play board games together
  • Enjoy holiday activities like eating or watching movies
  • Go for a walk through the park

Focus your attention on letting them have fun. Doing so can help you take care of them emotionally and mentally. For example, they could feel happy after the activities or thankful you thought of them.

Seniors can potentially become lonely and depressed during the holidays, so take the time to plan fun activities for them. Doing so can help them overcome the mundane and boring moments in their lives.

Prepare Them Ahead of Time

Some seniors may like to stick with their schedules. If you know seniors like this, you should prepare them before any activities. Some seniors may have health problems, so make sure you accommodate them. 

You can do this in multiple ways such as:

  • Ensure they have a way to safely reach the areas if they have to use wheelchairs
  • Give them specific food if they have dietary restrictions
  • Show them pictures of who they’ll see at the event if they suffer from memory loss

You don’t want to worry them, so make sure you take some time to talk and prepare. This can help them understand the plan and feel comfortable during the activity.

Visit Them Regularly

Often people forget to help seniors with their mental and emotional health during the holidays. If you want to help them during the holidays, just visiting them is an easy way to make their day.

Visiting seniors can help them out in many ways:

  • Allows them to talk with someone
  • Shows them others care about their well-being
  • Help them with tasks or anything else they need

When you visit a senior, you can help them feel happy. You can also help them avoid feelings of loneliness or boredom if they have to live away from home. Even if you have seniors in your life who live on their own, you should visit them during the holidays.

Seniors recognize the time you take to visit them, so they’ll appreciate your efforts.

Ask Them What They Want

Sometimes, people try to make decisions for seniors, so you should communicate when possible. If you communicate with them, you can avoid some problems.

  • Ensure they do something they like and avoid boredom
  • Meet their personal needs and keep them safe
  • Learn more about them and their interests

These points can help you find an activity that will make the seniors happy. You don’t want to drag them to an activity they don’t like, so you need to communicate with them. That way, you can find something you’ll both enjoy. 


Some people forget to remember each senior as a person. Make sure you show these seniors you care by asking them what they want. As you do so, you can form stronger relationships with them. 

Final Comments

The holidays give you a great opportunity to show your love to the seniors in your life. Whether you want to help relatives in your family or the local seniors, you can make the holidays better for them.

If you want to help these seniors out, try out the ideas above. If you need assistance in taking care of the seniors in your life, reach out to Senior Care Companions.

Have any Questions? Just give us a call, we would love to help in any way.

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