Falling prevented by good habits

Falling and the Facts

Falling risks can be greatly reduced by good habits developed to prevent falls. Fall begins September 22nd and it is also National Fall Prevention Day.  The Center for Disease Control finds that a third of seniors will fall. For many of them, it will be a life changing event. Falling can be prevented and with good habits, you or your loved one can be part of the 66%. Older adults can sustain broken bones such as: hip fractures, pelvis, leg, shoulder and wrists, let alone a traumatic brain injury. Many aging elders have other medical conditions (Dementia, Vision Impairment, Heart Disease, COPD, Diabetes, Parkinson Disease, Balance issues) which can be exacerbated by the fall. There are also risks of complications and infection which can make a fall turn into a downward spiral – resulting in loss of independence and discomfort.


Prevention is the Best Prescription

Most falls occur in the home. Going from the living room or bedroom is common, as well as falls in the kitchen. Practicing good habits to prevent falling are important in the home and away.  If you or your loved one lives alone, it is strongly recommended to wear an emergency button.  This is better than just a cell phone, though that is also recommended to keep charged and on you,  because you become a customer rather than address and the company will know important information about you – medical conditions, emergency contacts and with a lock box, the door won’t be broken down. Looking through every room of your home, with someone else is a good way to evaluate what puts you at risk for a fall, and fixing it. Lighting, grab bars, unnecessary throw rugs, and clutter, especially a lot of furniture narrowing passageways are key ways to tweak the home and make it a lot safer for an aging adult to maneuver safely in. It is also very important to have your vision monitored and corrected, strengthen your core (abdomen) and legs for better balance and gait and use an assistive device properly – geared to you personally.


Fall-ty Habits — Prevent Falling

Throw away “throw rugs” – or make sure they are immobilized

Wipe up spills immediately

Get up from bed or a chair – slowly

Use assistive devices – properly

Install grab bars, ramps, railing, and safety equipment as needed

Use a “Grabber” for reaching up or down

Exercise – Move – Physical Therapy tune ups (check with doctor)

Pay attention to what you are doing – look up from your phone

Take it easy when having a bad day

Have your vision checked regularly

Wear comfortable and sensible shoes- with traction, no heals

Have well-lit rooms. Lights from bedroom to bathroom

Make sure you understand what your doctor tells you

Adhere to medications as prescribed – note some cause dizziness

Ask for help when help is needed – no need to be a hero

Adapt your home to fit your needs

Falling when alone is quite dangerous. Often it is helpful to have an aide or caregiver who assists an elderly person, especially if they live alone, have dementia, balance issues or vision impairments. A caregiver can help or at least be present while you or your parent is showering, getting dressed. Help with the heavy lifting and bending required for laundry, shopping and even cooking. It is truly “better safe than sorry”.