To most people, a fall most likely means a skinned knee and feeling a bit embarrassed. A fall for the elderly can be more dangerous. Such an accident can signal the beginning of total lifestyle change or even worse, death.
Fall Occurrences Data
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older. The rate of fall deaths has increased more than 30% from 2007 to 2016.
More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year because of injuries due to falls. The most often injuries that occur are head injuries and hip fractures.
Consequences of Falls
There are multiple possible consequences of falling. Falls can cause broken bones including the wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures. Falls can also cause head injuries. These injuries can be very serious for an elderly person, especially those who take certain medicines including blood thinners. If a senior does fall and hit their head, it is very important to get medical attention right away. If they do fall and they did not suffer a serious injury it can cause them to become afraid of falling again. When a senior falls the likelihood of them falling again increases. According to a study 30% of the participants had recurrent falls which can be defined as two falls or more within the previous year.
Vision: Less light reaches the retina as the eye ages. This causes contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and/or obstacles harder to see. Make sure to have a yearly eye appointment.
Balance and Gait: Coordination, flexibility, and balance are affected as we age often due to inactivity and makes it easier for one to fall.
Medications: Some prescriptions or over-the-counter medications can lead to dizziness, dehydration or other interactions which can lead to falls.
Chronic Conditions: Majority of senior suffer from chronic conditions including diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and many others. These conditions cause an increase in falls because of the loss of function, inactivity, depression, pain, or taking multiple medications.
Wear Sensible Shoes: Avoid high heels, floppy slippers, and shoes with slick soles. Instead try wearing properly fitted, sturdy, and nonskid sole that can also help with joint pains.
Remove Hazards: Remove boxes, newspapers, and electric or phone cords from walkways. In high-traffic areas move coffee tables, magazine racks, and plants stands.
Flooring: Secure all rugs with either double-faced tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing. Consider removing all rugs from your home. Repair any loose wooden floorboards or carpet.
Lighting: Increase the lighting around your home. Additional lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs is especially important. It is also important to ensure that lighting is available in the case of getting up and moving in the middle of the night.
Stairs: Not only should there be additional lighting at the top and bottom of the steps, but also ensure that there are two secure rails for all stairs in the home
Bathrooms: Install grab bars in tubs, showers, and near the toilet. Make sure that they are installed properly. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower. Try using a bath seat which allows you to sit while showering.
Fears of Falling
Since the risk of falling and suffering more seriously from a fall increases with age, seniors do tend to have a fear of falling. The fear can still be within someone even if they haven’t fallen themselves. The fear usually comes from hearing about others that they know who have fallen.
Elders who have a fear of falling might avoid activities including walking, shopping, or enjoying other social activities. It is important to try and overcome this fear because it can help you stay active, maintain physical health, and prevent possible future falls.
If You do Fall in Your Home
If you do happen to fall in your home, it is important to remember these care tips.
- 1.Stay calm
- 2.Examine yourself for injuries
- 3.If you are injured and unable to get up, try and alert someone
- 4.If you believe that you are not suffering from any serious injury search for the nearest sturdy furniture to get yourself up
- 5.While getting up, use your strongest leg and lift yourself up using arms and legs simultaneously
- 6.Call your doctor immediately after falling
Awareness of Falling Risks
Almost all seniors experience falls but many of them do not let their doctors or loved ones know about the fall. A fall might be an embarrassing indictor of a senior’s decline in their health and their need for others support and somewhat of a loss of their independence. If the falls are kept a secret it declines their health even more since they would not get the needed support by not learning and preventing falls. Small modifications can be taken if falling becomes an issue while independence is still felt for that person.
Speak up to loved ones or your doctor if you do fall. Don’t feel embarrassed if a fall does occur. And make sure to take precautions around your home to avoid falls.
If you or someone you know have fallen or at risk of falling in the home remember that home care and/or home health services are an option. Abcor Home Health is a licensed Home Service Agency. Non-medical home care services are provided by non-medical caregivers, homemakers, and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our clients are supported with daily activities including personal care, assistance in getting to and from appointments, and overall companionship. Abcor Home Health is also a Licensed Home Health agency. Medical home care includes nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and social work therapy. For more information go to the Home Care Services and Home Health Services pages under the Services tab of the website or call (847)670-8268.