Fall Prevention

Falls among seniors happen many times a day every day.

 

Approximately one third of the population over age 65 fall each year, and approximately 9,500 deaths occur annually among seniors in the US as a result of falling. One out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture and this increases to one in ten for those aged 85 or older.

 

Although many falls don't result in actual injuries, almost half of those not injured are unable to get up without help, and the amount of time spent on the ground and immobile can also affect a person's health outcome.  Muscle cells start to breakdown after only a short time, dehydration, pressure sores, hypothermia & pneumonia are other complications that can occur as a result of falling.

Falls without injury can also affect quality of life as fear of falling may prevent one from going out to activities and other social events, leading to isolation & depression. 

 

The worse fear of many seniors is the loss of independent living.

55% of falls happen in the home with 70% of home falls taking place in the bathroom.  Although these may seem frightening statistics, there are simple preventative measures we can all take to help ourselves becoming one of those statistics.

 

Prevention of Falls

Here are some measures you can take today to protect yourself.  Don't wait until later - protect yourself & those you love today, and although I am referring to seniors here none of us want to fall and get injured, so whatever your age if you are reading this some of these steps apply to you.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider about your own fall risks & prevention, some medications can cause dizziness & other symptoms, perhaps they can be changed or at least it is good to be aware of side effects

  • Exercise to improve strength and balance, yoga and Tai Chi are excellent forms of exercise most people can do.  Lack of exercise leads to weakness, motion is lotion to your joints!

  • Have your eyes and feet checked regularly.  Poor vision increases your chance of falling as can foot pain or badly fitting shoes or slippers.  If you have wooden floors don't wear regular socks, use non slip footwear

  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to dizziness which in turn can lead to falling.  Take regular water breaks during your day.  Drink before you feel thirsty

  • Declutter your home, remove piles of stuff from the floor that your could easily trip over

  • Remove small rugs or use double sided tape to secure them to the floor

  • Keep items you use regularly within easy reach

  • Improve the lighting in your home

  • Have grab bars put in next to and inside the bath tub and next to the toilet

  • Use non slip mats in the bathtub and in the shower.  Use a non slip bathmat on the floor

  • Install hand rails on all staircases

  • Always keep the stairs clear.  Have a basket with a handle to carry items up and down if needed, this leaves one hand free to hold on  

  • Fix loose or uneven steps, replace worn carpet

  • Is there a light and light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs?

  • Make sure wires and cords are secured next to walls so they cannot be tripped over

  • If you really must use a stepping stool use one with a bar to hold on to or even better wait for a friend/family member to reach something for you

  • Place a light near the bed that is easy to reach

  • Small pets can get underfoot, please be aware of them.  If you are older & considering getting a pet perhaps choose an older pet that is not as likely to run around as much trip you up.  Larger dogs can easily jump up & knock seniors off balance, please be aware & take precautions

 

For more information, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control at the following web address:

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

See link below for research onwhich medical alert might work for you.

https://www.consumersadvocate.org/medical-alerts