Fall Prevention: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for people aged 65 and older (seniors) in the United States? Nearly 3 million older Americans are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Falls can cause serious injuries, such as fractures, head traumas, and even death.
Thankfully, falls can be prevented if you have the right information about them. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about fall prevention. We will cover topics such as risk factors for falls, how to prevent falls, and what to do if you do fall. Hopefully, as a senior, you’d be better informed about falls and how you can prevent fall-related injuries from happening to you.
Stay safe out there!
Risk Factors Associated With Falls Among Seniors
As we age, our bodies change, and we become more susceptible to falls. For example, our bones get weaker, and the bones get smaller, muscles also get smaller and less toned, we become less balanced, and our vision and hearing decline. All these changes make us more likely to fall.
But besides the occurrence of these physical changes that come with aging, many medical conditions can increase your risk of falling. These diseases include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, thyroid issues, low blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, visual impairments, and foot problems. If you have any of these conditions or are taking medications for them, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent falls.
Besides that, safety hazards, wearing the wrong shoes, weakened reflexes, or simply waking up in a strange environment can lead to a fall.
Some Factors You Should Know About Falls
Did You Know that:
- Falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths for seniors?
- Every year, nearly three million people over the age of 65(seniors) visit the ER because of a fall-related incident.
- Falls can cause serious injuries like fractures, head trauma, and even death in seniors.
The good news is that there are many things that you can do to reduce your risk of falling. These things include exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, taking medications as prescribed, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding risky behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol excessively. The idea is to keep yourself in the best physical shape possible that you can. Staying healthy will greatly reduce the risk of you falling.
Another great way to prevent falls is to ensure that your home is slip-proof. By this, we mean that you install enough non-slip surfaces in and around your home so that seniors like you are less prone to slip while around the house. Some of the places where you must install non-slip surfaces or even safety mats in your home are the kitchen and the bathroom because a lot of water is spilled, making such places slippery. Moreover, you frequent these places a lot, and if they are slippery, the risk of a fall increases.
Other ways to reduce the risks of falling in your home include providing adequate lighting and getting rid of loose rugs or cords that could cause seniors to trip over them. We also recommend using assistive devices like a cane or walker when going out without your caregiver.
It would be best if you also got your eyes and ears tested. It would help if you kept both senses in good condition. Any change in your sight and hearing abilities (no matter how little). If you have to use sight or hearing aids, we advise that you take your time adjusting to them so that you don't make errors that could lead to a fall.
If you are on any medications, speak to your doctor to determine the possible side effects of using them. For example, you want to avoid using drugs that could make you dizzy because that increases your risk of falling.
There are some other tips that can come in handy when you want to prevent falls. Here they are:
- Get as much sleep as you can
- Never be in a rush to get up. You might feel wobbly from your blood pressure dropping when you stand up so soon.
- Always keep your assistive device within reach. You should also ensure that it is the right type and size.
- Avoid walking on icy or wet surfaces for obvious reasons. If you do have to walk on them, be extremely careful!
- As much as possible, always wear comfortable non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes. If you can lay your hands on those, you can opt for lace-up shoes with non-skid soles.
- Use a shower seat. When you are done bathing trying sitting down when cleaning your body
- Take away books, shoes, and anything likely to trip you, especially around stairs and walkways. Then remember to tape anything that you cant remove so that you don’t trip over them.
- Use night lights.
- Keep the items you regularly use within reach.
- Get someone to paint or place reflective tape on the edges of your stairs so that you can see them a lot better.
What to Do if You Fall Down
How do you go about handling a situation where you fell? Where here are some tips on how to handle the situation:
- Try to stay calm, take deep, slow breaths
- Check your body for injuries, and any pain points
- If you are not injured, try getting up real slow
- If you are injured, we suggest that you call for help
- Please consult with your doctor so they can check for internal injuries
Falls can be very nasty for seniors, most especially. So you want to avoid falling by all means to avoid injuries or even loss of life. However, it is possible to prevent falls. We have shared some tips that should come in handy if you follow them to the letter.
Always keep your caregiver in the loop because they need to know what you are doing to discharge their caregiving duties well. If you have senior mobility issues, you should have a caregiver who works around the clock.