Are you the adult child of aging parents? Do your parents currently live in their own home, taking care of themselves? Are you concerned that one or both of them could fall? Were you aware that when Florida senior adults fall it can cause devastating injuries and have long-term effects on the overall health of senior adults, sometimes even death? However, the good news is that most falls are preventable. By initiating lifestyle adjustments and support from their adult children, aging Florida parents and grandparents can greatly reduce the risk of falling, and the hip fractures and head injuries that too often result.
Because of the serious rise in falls among seniors the National Council on Aging hosts National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, which this month is September 18-22, 2023. This event offers a wide range of educational tools and materials to learn about the impact of seniors falling and the costs to their families.
So, how can you help your aging Florida parents? As a family, determine the risk level of your aging parents and whether any additional assistance is needed. For example, have you or your family noticed any of the following warning signs:
A decline in mental alertness
A recent fall, or near-fall
Frailty and muscular weakness
Changes in physical health, such as a recent surgery
You and your family might also discuss another prevention tip, for instance, finding some exercise support groups that offer evidence-based programs, such as Tai Chi. You might also want to help your aging parents set up screening for osteoporosis and have their prescription medications evaluated for side effects, like dizziness, which are also manageable precautions.
You and your family need to take a close look at the home of your aging parents. How does it look? Home safety is very important and you and your family can introduce measures that can further reduce or eliminate your aging parents' risk of falling. Some suggestions would be to:
Improve all lighting both inside and outside their home
Remove rugs or secure the edges of rugs to the floor
Fix any broken floorboards, cracked pavement and other uneven surfaces
Rearrange furniture to create wide walkways
Remove any and all clutter and small objects from the floor
Add grab bars to bathtubs, stairways and toilet areas
A word of caution and advice. If a fall occurs outside the home of your aging parents, it is strongly recommended that you and your family contact a qualified Florida elder care attorney and learn about any right your aging parents may have. Falls outside the home are sometimes caused by negligence and there is little anyone at any age can do to prevent them. Recouped monies may be needed to pay for expensive medical care.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.