Are you aware how devastating a fall can be for a senior adult? Sadly, falls are fairly common. Indeed, one in four adults age 65 or older will likely fall this year. Among those affected, several million will be treated in hospital emergency rooms. Of those, hundreds of thousands will be admitted for serious injuries, like fractured hips and concussions, and thousands more will die.
In regard to falling, what is troubling is the long-term consequences. Studies show, unfortunately, that seniors who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. However, for those who do not fall, their fear of falling again can often negatively impede physical activity and social fulfillment. Further increasing the problem are the emotional and financial costs that often spill over and affect family members who may decide to move an elder loved one from their home.
Is there any good news? Yes, most falls are preventable. Elder adults can reduce their risk of falling with education, appropriate exercise, and practical steps to eliminate tripping hazards. In fact, every year in September, the National Council on Aging hosts Fall Prevention Awareness Week. This week is a nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are preventable. The Administration for Community Living, State Falls Prevention Coalitions and Area Agencies on Aging are all participating partners, and they offer year-round support to elder adults and their families.
Need some practical ideas to help your elder adult loved one avoid falls? We would like to share the following:
• Keep doorways and stairways clear of clutter
• Keep extension and electrical cords tucked away
• Install grab bars to bathing and toilet areas
• Use a cane or walker
• Wear good footwear, and, if necessary, obtain orthotic shoes
• Install good lighting throughout your home
• Remove excess furniture and inside floor plants
• If needed, use a sturdy shower chair with hand-held nozzle
Even with all this information, education, and protective measures, it is important to know that falls can still happen. Encourage your elder adult to have their legal documents in place in the event a fall should cause them to lose the capacity to make any medical or financial decisions. Be sure to contact your Florida estate planning attorney for help.
Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.