Falls among the elderly are all too common and may have serious outcomes. Taking protective measures is crucial, including examining the home for fall dangers like area rugs as well as other trip and fall hazards, poor lighting, and an absence of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there is an additional strategy being suggested now: developing a fall plan of care, which, when executed properly, has been found to cut down on fall-related hospital visits by as much as 40%.
So while we absolutely don’t want to plan for a senior loved one to fall, we are able to be better prepared by helping the person take the following steps to increase senior fall prevention:
- Stay alert – Avoid letting your mind wander and instead keep your full concentration on your surroundings.
- Check vision – Regular eye exams and always wearing eyeglasses if required can ensure tripping risks are seen and averted.
- Practice stability – Exercises as basic as lifting one foot off the ground and remaining balanced on the other foot for approximately 30 seconds can really help.
If a fall does occur, understanding the way to fall more safely can minimize the risk of injury. In particular:
- Avoid head injuries by intentionally turning your face away from the fall, or tucking your chin to your chest if falling backward.
- Bend the elbows and knees to avoid the rigidity which can produce a break to the elbow or wrist when trying to catch your fall.
- Roll with the fall, which distributes the impact associated with the fall over an increased percentage of the body rather than concentrating it on a single area.
- Attempt to land on fatty tissue, such as on your thighs or bottom, rather than on more bony areas such as hips, knees, and elbows.
Using the following proactive measures can also go a long way towards preventing a fall:
- Make sure all walking areas both inside and outside of the home are clear of clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as electrical cords.
- Keep floors, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, clean and dry.
- Install grab bars around the bathtub and toilet.
- Ensure handrails are in place and secure alongside all stairwells.
- Remove and replace any worn out carpets and take away all loose rugs.
At CareWorks Health Services, our home care team is qualified in making your home environment as safe and secure from falls as possible, and we are knowledgeable in providing ambulation help and supervision when needed to help make sure fall risk is reduced. We’re also on hand to engage in doctor-recommended fitness programs to increase balance and flexibility, resulting in overall improved health. Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 for a complimentary in-home assessment to see more ways we can help!