Stay on your feet: How to prevent a fall

08/02/19

Did you know that falls are the main reason that the elderly are taken to the emergency department?[1] Or that each minute, six people over 65 suffer a fall?[2]

Anyone can take a tumble, however the chances of having a fall increase rapidly with age, and the consequences are typically more severe. In addition to physical injuries, having a fall can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health, causing anxiety, reduced self-esteem and an increased dependence on family and friends.

Despite the shocking statistics, falling is not an inevitable part of ageing. There are steps you can take to help minimise the risk of yourself or your loved one having a fall.


TAKING CARE OF YOU:

Health:

  • See your GP for an annual medication review – some medications can cause dizziness and affect balance.
  • Get your eyes tested regularly – you can’t avoid something that you can’t see.
  • Ears play an important role in maintaining your balance – see your GP if you are experiencing any discomfort or hearing deterioration.
  • Look after your feet. Visit your podiatrist regularly to lower your risk of tripping or falling. Also, be sure to check our article on how to keep your feet happy.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of main causes of falls in the elderly because they can cause disorientation and unsteadiness. Read our article about UTIs to learn the symptoms to look out for.
  • Always use appropriate aids (glasses, walking stick, etc.)

Diet:

  • Eating a balanced diet will provide you with energy and help to keep your bones and muscles strong. Consult your GP for specific dietary advice.
  • Eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable. Consider eating smaller, more regular meals rather than two or three large meals with long gaps in between.
  • Stay hydrated. Sip on water consistently throughout the day to avoid becoming dizzy or light-headed from dehydration.
  • Limit alcohol to avoid dehydration and other negative side-effects that could lead a fall

Exercise:

  • Keep active. As we get older, our muscle strength and balance deteriorates. Ask your GP about the type of exercises you can do to improve your strength, balance and coordination.

AROUND YOUR HOME:

  • Remove hazards – mop up spills immediately, clear any clutter, fix loose or uneven steps and watch out for upturned carpet or rugs. Keep pathways free of anything a senior person could trip over.
  • Make sure that the house is well-lit, especially in dangerous areas like steps or the bathroom.
  • Wear a personal alarm and/or carry a mobile phone with pre-programmed numbers on you at all times so that you can call for help.
  • Keep often-used items close to hand and avoid reaching for things out of easy grasp.
  • Install handrails in easy-to-slip areas, such as the shower, toilet and staircase.
  • Put non-slip strips such as on stairs on in the shower or bath.
  • Install a nightlight to avoid a fall happening on the way to bathroom.
  • Put a bell on your pet so that you know their whereabouts.
  • Make sure that your garden paths are free of moss.
  • Request a home hazard assessment from your local council.

FURTHER SUPPORT:

Unfortunately, once someone has already had a fall, they are more likely to have another.[3] If you have concerns about your loved one’s safety, it might be time to consider additional support, such as homecare.

With live-in care, the client is the only priority. It stands to reason then, that people with a live-in caregiver experience far fewer falls and consequent hospital admissions than those in a residential or nursing home.[4] Consultus’ trained and experienced care professionals are on hand 24/7 to provide individual, one-to-one, personalised care. It is incredibly reassuring to the client and their family to have someone in their loved one’s home providing round-the-clock support with mobility, personal care and companionship.

For a confidential discussion about our live-in care service, phone 01732 355 231 or email care@consultuscare.com. Alternatively, visit www.consultuscare.com/live-in-care to find out more.


USEFUL LINKS:

 

[1] Age UK: Falls prevention

[2] Age UK Report: Stop Falling: Start Saving Lives and Money

[3] Independent Living- Top Tips on Fall Prevention.

[4] Live-in Care Hub Report: Better at Home (2019)

Back to News