7 Minute Read
Reviewed By: Dr. Nemade
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older adults. But many falls can be prevented. Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling at home. Take a few minutes to read this blog post and learn how to stay safe and prevent falls.
Every year, millions of older adults fall and end up in dangerous situations that could endanger their lives. With an increased risk of age-related issues, elderly people are more susceptible to serious injuries when they lose their balance or slip on something. Also, many falls happen at home, which is the one place where seniors should feel safe and secure. This makes falling even scarier. Preventative care has proven to be the biggest protective factor against such falls, so it is imperative that efforts are made to make sure older adults can live safely among their family and friends.
Common Causes of Falls
Falls are a common problem for older people, and there are many things that can put them at risk of falling. Even small changes in how someone moves can lead to a slip or trip, as well as changes in their environment. Slippery floors, loose carpets and rugs, poor lighting, and wet surfaces can all make it more likely that someone will trip and fall. Poor vision, such as cataracts or glaucoma, coupled with other age-related conditions such as arthritis or weak bones can also make it harder for seniors to move around safely. It is important to change the home environment to meet the needs of older people. This means making sure there is enough light, making sure surfaces don't slip, and securing carpets.
Older adults may be more likely to fall because of health problems as well as their environment. Stroke, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's can all make people weak and less stable, which makes them more likely to fall. Also, some of the medicines used to treat these conditions can make people feel lightheaded or sleepy, which makes them more likely to fall. Regular checkups with a doctor can help keep track of changes in physical ability and let doctors know if falling is becoming a bigger problem.
Finally, physical activity is critical in preventing falls in seniors. Being physically active helps maintain strength and balance, which makes it less likely for elderly people to lose their footing or stumble throughout their daily activities. Senior-specific exercise classes are a great way for them to stay active while being around people who understand their particular needs and limitations. With regular exercise, they will become stronger and better able to prevent any unfortunate slips or trips from happening due to weakened muscles or a lack of coordination.
With more than one in four older adults falling each year, it's important that we take steps to try to prevent serious injuries. Making sure that the right footwear is worn, even inside the home, such as low-heeled shoes or sturdy leather sneakers with good grip, can help reduce the risk of falls. Removing dangers such as clutter from floors and ensuring lighting is bright enough so people can see where they are headed are other simple preventative measures. Taking a few moments to consider how environments can be safer will hopefully lead to fewer trips and slips for older adults.
As we age, our risk of falling increases. However, taking simple steps, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom shower and clearing clutter from the floor, can make a world of difference in preventing falls and injuries to ourselves or our loved ones. A fall-proof home can help reduce fear and anxiety while allowing us to continue living independently in our own homes. Acting now saves time, money, and heartache down the road. Don't let yourself or your loved ones become another statistic. Let's be proactive in creating safe and secure environments for ourselves and those we care about by starting with our own homes.
Staying Active to Prevent Falls
Staying active is an important factor in fall prevention for elderly adults. Regular physical activity helps to improve balance and coordination, two skills that are essential in preventing falls. It can also help to increase muscle strength and bone density, two factors that reduce the risk of injury from falls. Exercise also helps with blood circulation, cognitive functioning, and mental wellbeing, all of which can contribute to improved balance and stability.
In addition to helping older people stay physically healthy, regular exercise is good for their mental health as well. Being active helps them stay connected to others through physical activities like walking groups or yoga classes. Participating in social activities can help older people keep their independence and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can lead to depression or anxiety, which both make it more likely that they will fall.
In order to stay safe while exercising at home, it’s important for elders to have adequate footwear with proper grip on slippery surfaces such as tile floors or carpeted stairs. They should also make sure they have enough lighting so they can clearly see the steps they are taking if they are going up or down stairs. Other safety measures include using props like handrails and chairs when necessary, as well as avoiding exercises with higher risks of falling, such as fast-paced exercises or those that require quick changes in direction.
Exercise programs designed just for older people should be done under the supervision of a trained professional who can assess their needs and tell them how to stay safe. Seniors should talk to their doctor before starting a new exercise routine to find out if they have any health problems that need to be taken care of first. Seniors can benefit from regular exercise and avoid getting hurt from falls at home if they take the right steps.
What to Do If You Fall
If you are an elderly person and fall, the first thing to do is stay as calm as possible. When you fall, it can be scary and make you feel disoriented, but it's important to stay calm so you can figure out what to do next.
Check for any injuries that may have occurred due to the fall. Common injuries resulting from falls include sprains, fractures, broken bones, cuts, and head trauma. If any of these occur, getting up quickly could make the injury worse. It is also important to be aware of any signs of shock following a fall, such as dizziness or cold sweats.
If no immediate medical attention is necessary following a fall, begin by slowly moving your arms and legs to make sure everything appears to be functioning properly. Check for any pain in your neck or back that could suggest a more serious injury. Then look for any open cuts or bruises that might need to be cleaned, bandaged, or splinted.
If you believe you can safely get up without any help, roll onto your side and then take a break while your blood pressure adjusts. Slowly get on all fours and crawl towards a sturdy chair. Then, slowly sit with one foot flat on the floor and the other knee bent. Gently stand up while turning your body to finish sitting in the chair.
If you are hurt and cannot get up by yourself, call for help or dial 911. If you are alone and cannot get to a phone, try to find a comfortable spot and wait for help to arrive.
To be ready for any fall, always carry a fully charged cell phone with you and have someone from your family or a friend check up on you every day. Emergency systems can also help you if you fall or need medical help. You can press a button on your necklace or bracelet for help. There are also some smartwatches that can call for help with the press of a button.
It is important to take steps to avoid future falls, both at home and when out in public. Get rid of any tripping hazards in your home, such as loose rugs or cords laying on the floor. Make sure there is enough light in your home so you can see clearly where you are walking. Make sure you have sturdy shoes with good grips on slippery floors, such as tile or carpeted stairs, when exercising at home.
If you still feel weak after falling, it may help to do balance exercises regularly with the help of a health professional, like a physical therapist, who can show you ways to strengthen the muscles that help you keep your balance and coordinate your movements.
In the end, falls can be avoided if we take the right steps at home and in public. This includes wearing the right shoes, keeping the environment clear of clutter and trip hazards, being aware of things like wet floors or loose carpets or rugs that could make it easier to slip or trip, having enough light in our homes, staying active with supervised balance exercises, and, if necessary, getting medical advice. In the end, you can avoid falling again in the future if you know what makes you more likely to trip and take steps to avoid it.