Tips to Reduce the Risk of Fall
Anybody can fall. However, as we grow older, the risk of falling upsurges. That can be quite debilitating, especially for older people. This article will provide you with the basic falling prevention tips you need to avoid any injury. Health practitioners such as occupational therapist and physiotherapist can help you with a home assessment to ensure you have what is needed to help you move around safely but also to help you with movement and how to strengthen specific muscle to avoid any fall.
Why Do We Fall in The First Place?
The first step in fall prevention is understanding the reasons behind it, such as improper balance, reduced muscular and bone strength decreased vision and hearing, as well as poor conditions inside and outside your house. These can increase the risk of falling. Here are some of the causes:
- Trips or slips because of problems in footing and traction
- Dull reflexes that cause issues in maintaining balance and moving out of harm’s way
- Balance issues
- Poor muscle strength
- Reduced vision
- Certain medications
- Alcohol intake
Medicines that can contribute to falling are:
- Blood pressure medicines
- Heart medication
- Muscle relaxants
Alcohol intake can also increase the risk of falling since it:
- Slows reflexes
- Causes dizziness and drowsiness
- Hinders balance
- Promotes risk-taking which can result in falls.
Is Falling Really That Common?
According to a statistical study published by the Canadian government, falling is the most common injury causative in the older Canadian community. Each year, approximately 1 out of 3 people of 65 years and older will have an incidence of falling at least once.
Falling is also one of the major contributors to hospitalizations of elders due to injury, with over 73,190 hospitalizations happening between 2008 and 2009.
How Dangerous is to fall?
Every year, fall hospitalization results in 85% of senior hospitalizations due to some injury. According to a report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, about a third of the elderly community hospitalized due to a fall has to face long-term care.
The dangers of falls in the long term can be severe. You can face hospitalizations, poor quality of life, issues with chronic pain, hip fractures, and increased mortality risk. Between 2008 and 2009, 35% of senior hospitalizations due to falls presented hip fractures.
Tips for Falling Prevention
Regardless of age, you can make changes to reduce your chances of falling. Falling prevention is just a matter of taking the right precautions to keep yourself safe. You can avoid falls by taking the necessary precaution while ensuring to eat properly, stay fit, and use the right devices in your day-to-day. Here are some falling prevention tips you should focus on:
In the Bathroom
- Make sure you install non-slip floors in your tub and shower.
- Put in toilet and bath grabbing bars to assist in sitting and standing. Check to see that they are properly installed.
- Get a raised toilet seat, as well as a bath seat for the shower, in case you require them.
- Always clean up moisture or water spills.
In the Living Room and Bedroom
- Avoid cluttering by removing any loose wires or cords along with any other objects.
- Try getting a cordless phone to prevent falls when rushing to the phone.
- Get proper lighting in your house and use night lights.
- Ensure that your path is empty from the bedroom to the bathroom.
- Avoid scatter mats since you can trip on them. Instead, get non-slip ones.
- Get out of the bed and chair slowly, since moving suddenly can cause dizziness.
In the Kitchen
- Make sure that your pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies are easy to reach.
- Keep heavy appliances in easy-to-reach cupboards.
- Get a proper step stool and a safety rail to access higher places.
- Make sure to clean all spills immediately to avoid any slips.
- Make sure to use non-skid floor wax.
- Get help when doing tasks that may involve any risk of falling.
On the Stairs
- Have your stairs lit properly.
- Get solid handrails on either side of your stairway.
- Don’t wear reading glasses while walking up and down the stairs.
- Always move slowly and carefully when using stairs, since rushing can lead to falls.
Outside the House
- Have your front steps and pathway maintained properly by getting rid of any snow, leaves or ice.
- Get proper lighting for your front entrance.
- Put away your garden tools like hoses or rakes once used.
Eating the Right Meals
- Nutritious foods help you stay strong and well-balanced, so eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Never skip meals, otherwise, you’ll feel weak and dizzy.
- Put in some physical activity each day to keep your body protected against falls.
- Go for walks.
- Use exercises to better your flexibility as well as balance.
- Maintain both muscular and bone strength by taking up some “resistance” exercises like weight lifting.
- Contact your doctor before choosing any one specific exercise routine.
- Get regular checkups for your hearing, as well as for your vision.
Taking Medication Properly
- Consult a doctor or pharmacist regarding the potential side effects of different OTC or prescription medications.
- Understand directions thoroughly to know about reactions with different medications.
- If your medicines make you sleepy or dizzy, change your routine to prevent the risk of falling.
- Never mix alcohol and drugs since alcohol can result in falls.
Getting Safety Aids
- Don’t shy away from using safety aids in your life since they keep you safe.
- Make sure to wear glasses or hearing aids if needed.
- Consider getting a cane or walking stick. Make sure both are the right height and that the tips are made of rubber.
- Proper footwear is crucial. Comfortable shoes can give you some much-needed support to avoid falls.
- Learn about other devices which can provide more safety such as reachers or hip protectors.
Pillars of Wellness is a private clinic in Burlington whose main goal is to provide people with, physiotherapy, chiropractic, occupational therapy, counseling, speech therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, yoga therapy, and other services. They can see people at home or at the clinic and provide assistance with a home assessment.