By Grace Smith, RN, BSN
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among adults 65 years and older. According to the CDC, 2.8 millions of older adults are treated in the emergency room each year, from injury due to a fall. One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or head injury.
When an elderly person falls, they may suffer from a broken arm, ankle, wrist or hip fracture. Head injury can also be fatal from a fall; it is also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One of the main problems that we face when an older adult fall, is that some of them do not tell anyone about it; not even their doctor. It is very important that family members or caregivers pay close attention to their loved ones, so that they can pick up on any changes that they may notice with the elderly.
Once an older adult falls it doubles their chances of falling again; even if they are not injured when they fall, they tends to become afraid of falling, and this fear can cause them to cut down of their everyday activities. You want your elderly parents or loved ones to be able to move around and keep active, because when they are less active, they will become weaker, which will increas their chances of falling again.
Falls are very costly and most times preventable; sometimes falls can prevent the elderly from getting around and even live on their own anymore, therefore requiring home care. The following are some conditions that can create a fall and it’s important that we can identify when they will need assistance with home care:
- Vision problems
- Lower body weakness
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of certain medication – sedatives, anti-depressants
- Vitamin D Defficiency
- Throw rugs on the floor that can be tripped over
- No grab bar in or out of bathtub
Falls can be prevented and here are some tips on how to help prevent a fall:
- Talk to your doctor and ask them to evaluate your risk of falling.
- Ask your doctor to review your medications to see if any of them make you dizzy.
- Do strength and balance exercise to make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
- Have your eyes checked at least once per year and your eyeglasses updated, if needed.
- Make your home safer: get rid of things that you could trip over; add grab bars inside and outside of the shower and next to the toilet; put railings on both side of stairs
- Make sure that your home has lots of lights or brighter lights.
Let’s face it, as we age, falls are more likely for many reasons, including changes in our balance and how we walk. Preventing falls can prevent broken hips, arms, legs, wrist and head injuries, as well as, re-hospitalization. We, at First Place Home Care, want to be a part of the solution; we want to help you or your loved one remain safe in the comfort of your first place, your home, by being present and giving you the care that you so deserved.
Give us a call today at 203-345-1400; we’re here to serve.
For additional resources on how you can help prevent a fall, check out www.CDC.gov/steadi.