Older people are generally more at risk of falling and more prone to breaking bones as a result of natural bone loss and osteoporosis. Falls are ‘the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalisation in older persons’ (source). There are a variety of strategies which can be used to prevent falls:
Research has shown that regular exercise increases the strength, balance and mobility of anyone, regardless of age. Exercise is linked with an increase in self-confidence and more energy. Ideally older participants should engage in a minimum of two hours exercise every week. This is still a valuable tool for those who have any type of disability although the exercise program may need to be specially adapted.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for strengthening the bones and it is common for elderly patients not to receive enough through their food or sunlight. A supplement can be taken and will decrease the chance of bone damage if a fall does happen.
A visit from an occupational therapist to an older person’s home can help to establish potential trip hazards. It can also be a good opportunity to teach an older patient about the risk of falls and how best to prevent them.
Many older people use multifocal glasses and these do have benefits. However, a single vision pair of lenses will provide a clearer view of the world around. This will decrease the chance of not noticing or confusing an obstacle and falling.
Cataracts affect the ability of anyone to see properly and this will increase the opportunity for an elderly patient to experience a fall. The most effective strategy to prevent this is to ensure any older person who needs cataract surgery has it completed within four weeks. Read our article ‘Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about Cataracts’ for details.
Many older people experience pain in their feet or ankles. This will result in decreased mobility or in an adapted style of walking which will affect their posture in the future. Both of these scenarios will increase the likelihood of a fall. Anyone suffering from foot pain should attend a podiatry clinic as soon as possible and have treatment.
Medical professionals and family members need to be vigilant for any of the above factors and make regular assessments of the older patient. This is particularly important if they have recently had a fall. Regular assessments ensure that an older person obtains all the assistance they need.
It is essential to talk to older people about the risks of falling and the consequences of falling. The more they understand the risk and act to decrease it the less likely they will be to fall.
In order for any fall prevention strategy to be successful it is essential to involve and educate the community. There are many older people who already look out for each other but it is essential for those in the community to be aware of what constitutes a trip hazard and how they can remove potential hazards or warn people of them if required. The majority of the people in any community will be happy to help as they will realize that, they too, will get older one day.
It is important to be aware of risks but not to draw attention to those who are likely to fall; this will have a negative effect by decreasing their self confidence and damaging their pride. They should be treated with the utmost respect, and if we can help them stay away from falls why not do it?
– See more at: https://seniorcare2017.wpengine.com/blog_information/15-09-15/8_Effective_Strategies_for_Fall_Prevention_in_Older_People.aspx#sthash.QZ2UokKl.dpuf
- Alzheimer's and Dementia
- Dental Health
- Elder Abuse
- Entitlements for Older People
- Expert Interviews
- Eye Problems
- Heart Health
- Hip Problems
- Home Care
- Multigenerational housing
- Nursing Homes