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Know your client's personal risk factors for falls

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The Center For Disease Control classifies risk factors for falls into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic risk factors are those that are specific to each individual - in other words, they're personal and not environmental factors. If you provide at-home senior care here's a simple guide for understanding your client's intrinsic risk factors for falls:

Sensory issues
If your client can't see or feel well, they're more likely to suffer a fall. Poor vision keeps elderly people from being able to see the extrinsic risk factors, such as uneven ground or a cluttered walkway. Seniors with little or no feeling in their feet or legs are also at high risk for falling, because they're unable to feel the ground and can't make adjustments to their gait and movements when necessary.

Lower body muscle weakness
When the legs, feet and knees are weak, it's harder for seniors to use those muscles to recover from an imbalance, leading to falls.

Medications
As a general rule, the more medications a senior is on, the more likely they are to fall. Psychoactive medications often have side effects like dizziness, unsteadiness, muscle fatigue and even confusion, which are all risk factors for falling.

Postural hypotension
Postural hypotension is a condition, common in seniors, of low blood pressure that causes dizziness from standing up after being seated for a long time.

Other conditions
If your client has Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes or another chronic condition, they're at a higher risk for falling. It's important to watch seniors with these conditions carefully during times that they're being active.

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