If you’re an elderly or infirm person living at home, we at Cherish Care know falls can be a constant concern. Falls can result in broken bones, head injuries, hip fractures, or even death. Bone density is lost as we grow older, so any fall can be serious. When you are elderly or in ill health, your balance may be compromised and put you at greater risk. And whilst a person is off their feet recovering from a fall, they are less mobile and more susceptible to illness. However, preventing falls is possible if we take steps to avoid them.
Tips for Around the Home
The risk of a fall can be limited if we are vigilant about the safety of our environment. You can remove clutter and trip-hazards from your home; look out for fraying carpets or loose floor tiles. Organise your home so that avoidable stretching, bending, and climbing is kept to a minimum; ask for help where these changes are too difficult to make yourself. Always wear well-fitting shoes around the house with good ankle support; avoid wearing socks, tights, or loose slippers. Wear well-fitting clothing that doesn’t drag or trail on the floor, thereby avoiding tripping over them. Make sure your home is always well lit with no overly-dark areas. Watch out for spillages, and clean them up as soon as they are noticed. Use a stick or walking aid indoors or outdoors if needed. Just small changes around the home can go a long way to preventing falls.
Strength and Balance
Building on your strength and balance can limit the possibility of falling. This can take the form of simple home exercises; standing in your front room or even sitting in a chair. If you are in good health, you may wish to think about walking more regularly or joining a dance class or gym. This also improves your mobility which is vital to good health. It is important these exercises are tailored to suit you and your abilities. But the stronger we are and the better our balance, the more success we can have in preventing falls.
You could speak to your GP about your current medications; ensure they are reviewed at least annually. Some medications can have side effects that make you drowsy, dizzy, or affect your balance - like blood pressure pills or heart medication or diuretics; increasing your risk of falls. Some medications like painkillers or sleeping tablets can also have these effects too. Continue to take the medications you are prescribed by your doctor, but do ensure that your medications are reviewed regularly. Also you should let your GP know if you are experiencing any symptoms which are affecting your balance.
There are many other ways of preventing falls; managing chronic health conditions, regular sight check-ups, healthy diet and good hydration, and avoiding excessive alcohol etc. But it is important to plan ahead if you want to prevent falls. Ask a family member or a friend if you need help in assessing the potential dangers in your environment; you can always speak to your GP or your local health authority. And if the worst should happen and you do fall, always report it. In this way, future falls can be avoided.