Can Low Vision Increase Fall Risk?

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Fall risk is one of the most pressing issues that elderly adults face. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 25 and 30 percent of adults over the age of 64 suffer a fall each year, and that millions of those end up having to seek emergency room treatment as a result of the injuries that they experience. As a family caregiver, it is extremely important that you not only understand this risk, but also the issues that might increase the risk that your aging parent faces so that you can take meaningful steps to help reduce this risk and protect them from serious injuries.

One issue that can increase fall risk for your elderly parent is low vision. Another extremely common issue among older adults, low vision can diminish your parent’s functioning as well as their safety. It is important to address these risks in the best way possible to reduce these challenges and protect your aging parent.

Some of the ways that low vision can increase fall risk include:

• Difficulty differentiating floors and flooring from stairs, such as stairwells that have the same carpeting as the floor around it
• Difficulty detecting slight elevations, such as thresholds
• Less ability to interpret shadows, potentially leading to tripping or running into objects in the shadows
• Less ability to see objects in their path, such as small items on the floor or loose floor coverings
• Challenges with perception, such as having a harder time stepping into or out of the bathtub, not being able to tell where a chair edge or the toilet is when trying to sit, or not being able to perceive risks such as puddles or ice

If your parent is struggling with low vision, there are many ways that you can help to reduce fall risk. Consider adding extra lighting throughout their home to reduce shadows and make paths throughout the home easier to see, especially at night. You can also help your parent stay safer with small changes, such as adding colored tape or paint on steps so that they can see each more easily, or adding handrails to the toilet and tub to provide extra support.

If you are concerned about your aging parent’s safety when you are not able to be with them or believe that they would benefit from more diversified care, starting home care for them might be the ideal solution. A home care provider can be with your aging loved one on a schedule that is specifically customized to them, meaning that they will get everything that they need according to their challenges and limitations, as well as the amount of care that you are able to give to them. For those who are dealing with issues that might increase their fall risk, this can be particularly beneficial. An in-home care provider can offer your parent physical support and assistance that can help them to maintain an active, engaged, and largely independent lifestyle while also helping to prevent serious falls that can lead to devastating injuries and complications. This can give you confidence that your
parent can maintain a higher quality of life as they age in place.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Purcellville, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.