Millions of older adults experience falls every year, leading to injuries and sudden visits to the emergency room.
Most fall injuries happen in our homes, but the good news is there are certain safety measures we can take to prevent these from happening.
Facts about Falls
Falls are common, especially among Australians ages 65 years and older. Every day, approximately 273 people suffer a fall from slipping, tripping, or stumbling on the same level. This makes falls the leading cause of accidental injury or death in this age group.
While most falls do not result in a trip to the ER, some may cause serious complications such as broken bones, concussions, or head trauma. After the injury, the elderly may have difficulty moving around, doing everyday routines, and live on their own.
The risk factors of falls are a combination of different causes. These include weakness in the lower part of the body, vitamin D deficiency, trouble walking and maintaining balance, vision problems, and hazards that are present at home.
The good news is there are ways to reduce an elder’s risk of falls. Remember that suffering from a fall does not have to be an inevitable part of aging.
Ways to Prevent Falls
A few simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in keeping the elderly safe from dangerous falls.
Engaging in at least 150 minutes of mild to moderate physical exercises every week will help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility and endurance. If the doctor approves, try to perform strength and balance exercises a few times a week.
Regular physical activity will help improve overall balance and reduce the risk of falls. It can also relieve other medical symptoms, such as postural hypotension.
Keep the Bones Strong
Weak bones tend to break more easily and can lead to a condition called osteoporosis.
Keep the bones strong by eating calcium-rich food, including milk, dairy, cheese, canned sardines, almonds, and more.
Getting an adequate dose of vitamin D also helps to keep the bones strong and healthy.
Regular Eye Checkups
Elders should have their eyes checked regularly to ensure a clear version.
Regular checkups will also help you detect eye conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts. The eye doctor will also determine if your spectacles are fitted to a wrong or outdated prescription.
Make home safer
Strive for a clutter-free environment at home or anywhere. Keep the walkways wide-open and remove things you can trip over, such as papers, books, clothes, and shoes.
Install safety devices and use a non-slippery mat in the bathroom, as they can be dangerous when wet. A non-slip mat can create a more accessible surface for the feet to grip. Have grab bars or handrails installed on what you think are high-risk areas of the house.
Lastly, improve the lighting in the home. Adding night light in dark areas such as hallways and bedsides can also make a big difference in safety.
Learn First Aid
Knowing first aid is an important consideration when caring for the elderly. Because of age, seniors become more vulnerable to accidents and injuries due to a lack of strength, flexibility, and brittle bones.
It is also important to keep a well-stocked first aid kit accessible at all times. Know when to use these items to help someone who has fallen and when to move the victim safely.
For the elderly, preventing falls means injury prevention. Applying the simple changes above can go a long way toward keeping older adults safe at home or anywhere.
In case of a fall, urgent and effective first aid intervention is vital. To know how to act in a fall emergency, consider enrolling in a first aid course.