There are many risks associated with aging, among the most common being risk of disease and risk of falling. When you take a more preventative approach to protecting your elderly loved one, you will be able to better mitigate the risks associated with aging.
The top three ways to help protect your loved ones include:
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1. Resistance Training
When an elderly person breaks their hip, they are 3-5 times more likely to die within the next three months. In fact, higher risk of death after a hip fracture remains for up to 10 years. The CDC found that 95% of falls were from individuals falling sideways, and that women make up 75% of all falls. One of the most common places for women to fall is in the bathroom because they do not have the muscle strength to stand up from the toilet.
This low muscle tone is the result of muscle loss that begins around age 35. Muscle loss steadily increases as you age. Of course, the only way to help counteract muscle loss is through resistance and strength training.
Some individuals may at first be skeptical about getting their elderly loved ones into weight training, fearing that the risk of falling will increase. There are many gyms and programs designed especially for the elderly, as many care models have found that resistance training is vital for their health.
When you have the proper fitness support and education, professionals can help your loved ones start at their level and slowly work to increase their overall strength.
The elderly are at a greater risk of complications from viruses and disease; it is recommended that the elderly get vaccinated against the flu annually. By actively fighting against infections and disease, you can reduce the negative consequences of the disease.
Pneumonia can be one negative side-effect of the flu. Every year, pneumonia kills an average of 1 million elderly people, and almost 700,000 children. These numbers don’t even reflect the impact that Covid-19 has had on the elderly, although we know they are in the highest risk group for developing serious side-effects from the virus.
When you take a preventative approach to the health of the elderly, you are more likely to safeguard them from the many risks associated with disease that can be prevented by vaccines. It is important to schedule an annual appointment with their provider to get them inoculated and protected.
3. Call Button
In the United States, it is estimated that over a quarter of adults over the age of 60 years old live alone. This is one of the highest percentages in the world. As such, if there is an accident and your loved one is in need of help, they need a way to communicate. It is not typical to always have a cell phone on your person in your own home. Fortunately, there are call buttons that have been created that can immediately notify a local individual or agency that your loved one needs help.
In addition to these devices, there are Alexa and Google Home devices that allow an elderly person to call out for help and call local family or emergency services to their home. This is especially important for individuals who have fallen and no longer have the physical capacity to get help.
By implementing these three strategies in your approach to safeguarding your elderly loved ones, you will be able to better mitigate the risks associated with falling and disease. This will create greater peace of mind if your loved one chooses to live independently.