Hallmark Carehomes
Three Fall Prevention Tips for the Elderly

21 June 2013

Three Fall Prevention Tips for the Elderly

There’s no fool proof way to stop falls, but by following these tips you can greatly reduce the likelihood of them occurring.

It’s not uncommon to hear elderly people speak of feeling unsteady on their feet. There’s no doubt that as we age we begin to feel a bit more “wobbly”. Sadly falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the elderly, not only because they are more likely to fall, but also because falls can have such a bad impact on their more frail bodies. Broken hips, wrists, shoulders and head injuries are all common results of a fall, and can lead to fatal complications in the elderly.

There’s no fool proof way to stop falls, but by following these tips you can greatly reduce the likelihood of them occurring.

1. Exercise

Falls often occur because as we age our balance, mobility and agility begin to decline. People become increasingly sedentary as they enter old age, but this only makes things worse. By engaging in regular physical activity, particularly ones that focus on flexibility and strength in the legs and core, we can improve our stability. Keeping flexible and fit also means that injuries from falls are likely to be lessened. Unfortunately a fall can lead to a loss of confidence, which in turn limits a person’s activity and results in less strength and flexibility which increases the likelihood of a fall. This is the number one tip to reduce falls.

2. Risk Assess The Home

Although we like to think we know our home like the back of our hand, it’s a simple fact that the average house presents a gamut of trip risks. From the loose mat in the porch to that old suspect the wet bathroom floor, the scope for falls in the home is endless. By thoroughly assessing all the risks, measures can be taken to mitigate them. Installation of a walk-in bath or a grab rail in the shower and a non-slip mat can prevent falls at bath times. Simple steps such as rearranging the placement of coffee tables, moving crockery and food to more accessible cupboards and fixing loose floorboards and carpet will all help prevent a nasty fall

3. Get Your Eyes Tested

This may sound an odd one but many studies have linked poor eyesight to a higher prevalence of falls. It makes sense, after all if you can’t clearly see an object or can’t accurately judge the distance between yourself and it, then it’s more likely you’ll bump into it. Poor vision also adversely affects your stability. Close your eyes and you’ll notice that your body seems to sway a lot more than when they’re open. Make sure you have regular eye checks with an optician. In addition try and make sure your home is well lit. Make sure blown bulbs get replaced promptly, consider nightlights in the bedroom, hallways and bathrooms and keep a few torches dotted around the house in case the power goes out.

Hopefully these tips will help you or an elderly loved one prevent nasty falls and maintain independence. Care home environments are designed with mobility issues in mind, and the care teams are fully trained to deal with falls. There should also be regular activities and the encouragement to continue to live an active and varied lifestyle.