1 May 2018
Fall advice: How to keep your loved ones safe, and out of hospital
If you’re responsible for an elderly relative or friend, the risk of a fall is undoubtedly on your mind. People aged over 65 are more at risk of a fall than any other demographic in society, and the consequences of an unexpected tumble can be severe. Around one in three retirees and one in two over the age of 80 experience a fall at least once in a year.
Falling down might not seem like a serious incident, but in the case of older people, it can be seriously damaging. Whether someone you care for has had a fall already and you’re looking to avoid it happening again, or you’re simply keen to avoid it happening in the first place, fall prevention measures make absolute sense. Here are some easy ways you can help your loved one stay safe, and out of hospital, with easy fall avoidance.
- Remove hazards from the area
From clutter and trailing wires to slippery rugs and frayed carpet, removing these hazards from the person’s environment will ensure that they are not put at unnecessary risk. Take a moment to look at their home with a fresh pair of eyes, spotting potential risks before they become a problem.
- Make it easier to see
Poor eyesight is a leading cause of falls in the home, so encourage your loved one to go for regular check-ups to make sure their glasses are working well for them. Make sure that the lighting around the home is adequate and replace any dim bulbs with higher wattage alternatives to avoid dark corners and corridors.
- Create a strong and stable base
Ensuring your loved one can walk safely is another great strategy for falls prevention. Simple things like wearing suitable shoes, walking with an aid, not walking in socks or tights and ensuring spills are quickly cleared up can all help avoid a fall. Take care of their feet, with regular toenail trimming and seeing a chiropodist about any foot issues.
- Review your loved ones medicine
If your loved one feels wobbly or disorientated from time to time, there is a chance that their medicine is no longer right for them. It’s important to have a review at least once a year, so that the GP or practice nurse can check their medicine is not heightening their risk of falling.
- Ask for help when it’s needed
Encourage your loved one to ask for help with things they find difficult. Make sure they know that support is available should they need it, and that asking for help is a sensible choice to make. Encourage them to seek help with strength and balance too, such as taking tai chi classes or attending older persons classes at the gym.
Complete fall prevention is not always possible, but with a bit of foresight and commitment to safety in the home, the risk can be easily reduced.
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