Falls among the elderly are all too common and can have dire consequences. Taking precautionary measures is key, including assessing the house for fall dangers like throw rugs as well as other tripping hazards, poor lighting, and an absence of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there’s another tactic being recommended now: creating a fall plan of care, which, when utilized accurately, has been shown to reduce fall-related hospital visits up to 40%.
So while we definitely don’t want to plan for a loved one to fall, we can be better equipped by helping the individual take the following actions:
- Remain vigilant – Avoid letting your brain wander and instead keep your full focus on your surroundings.
- Check vision – Frequent eye tests and regularly wearing glasses if needed can ensure tripping hazards are noticed and bypassed.
- Practice stability – Exercises as simple as lifting one foot off the ground and staying balanced on the other foot for 30 seconds often helps.
If a fall does take place, understanding how to fall more safely can decrease the risk of injury. In particular:
- Avoid head injuries by deliberately turning your face away from the fall, or tucking your chin to your chest if falling back.
- Bend your knees and elbows to avoid the rigidity which can produce a break to the wrist or elbow when attempting to catch your fall.
- Roll with the fall, which spreads the impact of the fall over a greater part of your body instead of focusing it on a single location.
- Try to fall on fatty tissue, such as on the thighs or bottom, instead of on more bony areas such as the hips, knees, or elbows.
Using the following proactive actions can also go a long way towards avoiding a fall:
- Make certain that all walking areas both in and out of the home are unencumbered by clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords
- Keep flooring, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, dry and clean
- Put up grab bars around the tub and toilet
- Make sure handrails are positioned and secure along all stairwells
- Remove and replace any worn carpets and remove all loose rugs
At North River Home Care, our home care team is qualified in making your home environment as safe and secure from falls as it can be, and we are knowledgeable in providing ambulation help and oversight when needed to help ensure fall risk is minimized. We are also on hand to take part in doctor-recommended exercise programs to enhance stability and flexibility, resulting in better overall health. Give us a call at 781.659.1366for a free in-home consultation to find more ways we are able to help!