Radfield Homecare

How To Prevent Falls At Home

It is an alarming statistic that for the over 75s, falls are the most common cause of injury-related death (NHS) but it is a reality that as we get older, and our faculties decline, we are more at risk of falling and the consequences are much more severe if we do fall.

Osteoporosis means that bones break more easily, which can have a devastating effect on an older person who may struggle to regain full mobility. Aside from the physical injury, a fall can impact on confidence, independence, isolation and psychological well-being.

“Every minute, six people over 65 suffer a fall” Age UK.

What can cause a fall?

 

Medical reasons for falling include:

  • Medication and its common side effects of dizziness and drowsiness.  Be aware of what you are taking and of the combinations of tablets.
  • Poor vision, through a decline in sight and poorly-lit areas.
  • Decline in muscle strength and mobility.
  • Balance and co-ordination decline, through lack of mobility and illness.
  • Chronic health issues, for example, heart disease, low blood pressure and dementia causing lack of coordination and dizziness.

 

Hazards around the home that can cause falls:

  • Trying to climb a ladder or on to a chair.
  • Loose rugs or worn carpets.
  • Clutter on the floor, especially magazines and newspapers.
  • Loose cords and wires, such as extension and phone cables.
  • Wet floors, particularly in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Tights and socks on a slippery surface such as lino.
  • Rushing to answer the phone or to go to the toilet.

 

What to do if you fall

If you have an elderly relative, talk them through this procedure so that they know both what to do if they should fall and to avoid panic.

  • Firstly, remain calm and take a few deep breaths.
  • Do a body scan and consider if you can stand up.
  • If you can get up, roll onto your hands and knees.
  • Very slowly use a piece of sturdy or solid furniture to help you get up.
  • Sit down and rest until you feel well enough to stand.
  • Call your carer or a relative to let them know you have fallen.
  • If you can’t get up, either use your call aid button or try to reach a phone by crawling.  Failing that, shout for help.
  • Cover yourself to keep warm (mainly your legs and feet), using anything such as a blanket, coat, dressing gown or towel.
  • Remain comfortable but keep changing position every half an hour.

For anyone vulnerable, panic buttons worn around the neck are essential in the event of a fall.

How to prevent falls

The risk of falling may increase as we age but it is not inevitable and there is much we can do to stay fit and healthy and avoid needless accidents.

Use our home safety checklist to review the home and to make it safe against accidents.

Have regular health checks including ECGs and blood pressure monitoring. Also, have regular sight checks - even if you wear glasses.

It is recommended that older people should stay physically active with regular exercise. Aside from the positive mental benefits, physical exercise improves muscle strength and when combined with balance training, is one of the most proactive ways both to prevent falls and to maintain a quality of life.

Heavy gardening, walking, and dancing is all considered good exercise. Or, Thai Chi, fitness classes and exercise groups can also be considered. Group classes are social events and can also alleviate isolation for anyone living at home alone.

Look for local exercise classes through Age UK

“Every year, more than one in three (3.4 million) people over 65 suffer a fall that can cause serious injury and even death.” Age UK.

Having a home care service offers peace of mind that you have someone to call if you do fall. After a fall, your home carer can provide support to regain both your confidence and to help you return to full mobility.


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