Caring for the Elderly: Preventing Falls


by: Marion Somers

One important concern when caring for the elderly is to prevent falls. This starts with being proactive. It's important to get your elder physically stabilized. Most elderly falls occur when they are stressed and tired, or if their environment and/or mind are cluttered. So you have to make sure they stay as active as they can. Their mind, muscles, and bone structure all need to be working together.

The body was made to move. The more they move, the more they send healthy messages to their body to cooperate. Inactivity decreases strength and can cause a person to have a real fear of falling, which could then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I always encourage some sort of regular exercise program for all of my clients, with the consent of their doctor, of course. This is to increase strength and prevent muscle atrophy, which is important when caring for the elderly. I also have my clients practice getting in and out of a chair by themselves to gain strength and confidence. Additional activities might include regular walking (either outdoors or on a treadmill) as well as deep breathing exercises. These help to keep the blood flowing and the brain sharp.

Risk of falls will increase if your elder has a general difficulty with walking or balancing, so make sure they have the appropriate assistive device, whether it's a cane or a walker. If caring for the elderly, you should know that assistive devices may increase independence and encourage one to walk more, thus increasing activity, maintaining balance and stability, and staving off any weakness due to inactivity. Also, proper footwear is important. Make sure that your elder has sturdy but comfortable shoes with a good tread, which will decrease the likelihood of slipping.

Keep in mind when caring for the elderly that the risk of falling also increases with the use of multiple medications and with vision problems. For these areas, consult with your elder's physician to look into any detrimental side effects from their current medications, and to discover if there are better alternatives. In addition, make sure that your elder's vision has been checked recently, and that they are using an up-to-date prescription.

Marion Somers, Ph.D. (Dr. Marion) knows the elder care arena and provides a bridge for the generational gap with resolve, results, and respect. Dr. Marion's vision provides seniors and their caregivers timely, relevant, and valuable education, resources, products, and services for a better life. Her mission's universal approach to engage and promote elder care needs worldwide creates a positive difference in the lives of caregivers and their elders.

To learn more about caring for the elderly and other issues, visit Dr. Marion's website,