Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent life. Each year, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 seniors will have a fall and about half of these people will sustain an injury. As much as 40 % of these injuries are a broken hip which means time in the hospital. Very often, these seniors are not capable of returning home or living independently again. Sadly, 25% of seniors who have fallen will die.
Falls put you at risk of serious injury.
Also, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life, there is a lot you can do to prevent falls and it is worth it!
You can prevent falls with these simple effective fall-prevention measures:
1. Schedule an Appointment with your Doctor:
Start your fall-prevention plan by scheduling an appointment with your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
What medications are you taking?
Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off medications that make you tired or affect your thinking, such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants.
Have you fallen before?
Write down the details, including when, where, and how you feel. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.
Could your health conditions cause a fall?
Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk. For example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance, and walking style (gait) as well.
2- Physical Activity:
One of the best ways you can prevent yourself from falling is by doing appropriate physical activity every day. Your physiotherapist can assess your physical abilities and get you started on the right exercises. Safe exercises that improve your balance, flexibility, and strength have a significant impact on reducing your risk of falling.
3. Home and Environmental Modification:
Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and stairways may be filled with hazards. To make your home safer:
- Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords, and phone cords from walkways.
- Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
- Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks, or a slip-resistant backing, or remove loose rugs from your home.
- Repair loose, wooden floorboards, and carpeting right away.
- Store clothing, dishes, food, and other necessities within easy reach.
- Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease, or food.
- Use non-slip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.
4- Illuminate Dark Areas:
We rely on our vision to help keep our balance, especially as we age. Walking in a dark room can increase the risk of falling. Add lights to areas in your home where you might walk after dark, such as stairs, hallways, and basements. Motion-detector lights work well, so you don’t have to find a light switch in the dark.
5- Use assistive devices:
Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. For example:
- Handrails for both sides of stairways
- Non-Slip treads for bare-wood steps
- A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
- Grab bars for the shower or tub
- A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down
Physical Therapists are experts who maximize the quality of life through hands-on-care, prescribed movements, and patient education.
Kindly visit our website www.bluetreeclinics.com to talk to our physiotherapists for more tips to make your home safe and prevent falling.
Call us now on +971 4 348 8262