© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Falls and fall related injuries are a common occurrence in the ageing process. Older people are more susceptible to falls creating several complications in health and mobility. A greater awareness can reduce the risk of a fall by understanding what causes a fall, the consequences of a fall and what are some strategies to prevent a fall.
What Causes Falls in Ageing?
There are a variety of reasons to cause a fall, these may include poor balance, low blood pressure, unfamiliar environments and obstacles, poor eyesight, unsafe footwear, medical problems such as osteoporosis, some medicines and incontinence. It may be one or a combination of these factors.
Consequences of a Fall in Seniors
While some falls cause no injuries, others can cause serious harm to the person. These include head injuries, broken hips and wrists, other fractures and skin tears. Falls also cause damage to your confidence and in your ability to mobilise. Generally this results in you fearing further falls and make it harder for you to stay independent. This then creates social isolation (preferring to remain at home) and additional need for care and medical interventions.
Fall Prevention Strategies
The old saying "prevention is better than a cure" is true. There are a number of known ways to reduce the probability of a fall. Here are a few tips to consider to reduce the probability of experiencing an accidental fall as you age:
- Ensure that you are familiar with your environment and that your surroundings are safe, particularly bathtubs, hobs of showers and steps
- Look out for hazards that may cause a fall, for example a spill, clutter, furniture, old uneven rugs and items in a walk way
- Reduce trip hazards such as carpets, rugs and mats
- Ensuring lighting is adequate
- Take your time getting up, sitting down, lying down and walking
- Install grab railings and handles where needed
- If you a prescribed walking aid, make sure it is in good condition and that you use it rather than using furniture or walls for balance
- Reduce patterned floors which can create misleading or distorted images of the floor surface
- If you have spectacles, only wear your distance ones when walking and take care when using bifocal or multifocal glasses.
- Wear comfortable clothing that is not too long or loose.
- Whenever you are up and about, wear comfortable, low-heeled and non- slip shoes that fit you well, rather than slippers.
- Always keep your fluid levels up, because dehydration can disorient you and create urinary tract infections.
- Enrol into a multifactorial intervention program run but your local health district (speak with your GP) to help you understand the known risk factors.
For more information on falls prevention: “Falls Prevention Booklet Download”.
For more tips on home safety for ageing: Safely Ageing at Home: Practical Home Renovations as You Grow Older.
For support and guidance to find the right care and accommodation solution for yourself or your loved ones (including a risk assessment of your home in an effort to reduce falls), please feel free to contact Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions.