|Factors that lead to falls:
||Why could this be a problem?
||Steps for safety improvement:
Exercise and/or Physical Exercise Program
|Lack of exercise effects strength, balance and coordination
Maintain a regular exercise program (ALWAYS consult your physician prior to starting a new exercise regimen)
Physical Therapy and/or exercise can aide those who are at risk of falling with fall prevention programs. These programs can improve function, reduce risk of falls/injuries, and improve one’s quality of life and increase longevity.
Proper posture and balance exercise can improve balance, stretching and strengthening exercise can prevent muscle weakness and protect the joints
Appropriate exercise increases the blood circulation and helps to keep the body warm by generating more heat
Modify living areas so they are safer
|Simple changes in and around your home could have a HUGE impact on decreasing your likelihood of falling
Remove tripping hazards
Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors
Have grab bars put in next to the toilet and in the tub or shower
Have handrails put in on both sides of all stairs
Anchor rugs, non-skid rubber mats
Remove clutter, exposed wire, or cord Keep halls and stairways well lit
Use nightlights in bathrooms and bedrooms
Maintain adequate lighting throughout your home
Select suitable bed height to ensure that the feet can reach the floor when sitting
When lifting things, use a proper technique: trying not to stoop- bend knees & keep back straight
Do not stand on foldable stool to get objects from height
When storing objects, those that are frequently used should be put on the middle shelf for easy transfer
Heavy and light objects which are rarely used should be put on the lower and upper shelves respectively
|Poor vision can increase the risk of falling.
||Have an eye doctor check your vision each year.
Review Medications with your physician or pharmacist
|The use of four or more prescribed medications has been found to be a risk factor for falls. In addition, some medications could possibly interact with each other or could have side effects that could increase the risk of falling
Ask your doctor to review all of their medicines in order to reduce side effects and interactions
Avoid medications that increase fall risk: Medications causing sedation; Medications causing hypotension or dizziness
When reviewing your medications with your physician or pharmacist, remember to include over the counter medications as well as herbal medicines.
Use appropriate Walking Aides, clothing & footwear
|Making safer choices about your walking aides and clothing choices demonstrates smart sense in preventing situations that could cause falls
Wear flat, rubber soled, non-slip shoes
Use cane, or walker if needed
Consider a hip protection device
Use walking aids correctly and seek professional advice if in doubt
Wear pants of suitable length
Avoid wearing slippers or sandals when going out
Avoid wearing open-toed shoes
Outdoor risks and Changes in weather
|The unexpected changes in the environment are a large source of falls
Put on warm clothing with hat, mittens and scarf during cold winter
Food can help in keeping warm.
Choose hot food with high calories i.e. biscuits and noodles
Keep the house warm. Heaters must be used with care to ensure safety, and adequate ventilation must be maintained
Keep the house cool and well-ventilated during summer.
Drink adequate water (8 cups a day) and avoid prolonged exposure under the sun to prevent heatstroke
Fire, burn or scalding prevention
|Decreased mobility can sometimes cause fires or burns
Ensure that your smoke alarms have fresh batteries (recommendation is to have the batteries changed 2x a year)
The handle of saucepan and mouth of kettle should be turned inwards during cooking to avoid being toppled over by accident
Beware of scalding by steam when cooking without the lid of saucepan
Always uses gloves or towel as heat insulator when holding something hot
Avoid carrying containers which are full of hot liquid
Use whistling kettle which will give you a signal as a reminder when the water is boiled
Before going out, make sure that all gas taps and the unused electrical appliances are switched off
|Remember, falls can affect seniors in many ways. Regardless of age, ANYONE can take any of the above steps to improve safety and prevent falls.
For Additional Resources:
CONNECTICUT COLLABORATION FOR FALL PREVENTION
The objective of the Collaboration is to implement, within the greater Hartford area, a multifaceted, multidisciplinary fall prevention program that reaches older adults via the existing health care system and community organizations.Visit their website at http://www.fallprevention.org
Costs of Falls in the Elderly, According to the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/fallcost.htm
Connecticut Division of Elderly Services State Agency on Aging
25 Sigourney Street, 10th Floor
Hartford, CT 06106-5033