November 12, 2018
Falls among older people are all too frequent and can have serious consequences. Taking preventative measures is important, including evaluating the home for fall dangers like area rugs and other tripping hazards, insufficient lighting, and a lack of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there is another strategy being endorsed now: developing a fall plan of care, which, when executed correctly, has been shown to decrease fall-related emergency room visits by as much as 40%.
So while we most certainly do not want a senior loved one to fall, we are able to be better equipped by helping the person take the following actions and develop a fall prevention plan:
- Stay alert – Avoid letting your mind wander and instead keep your full concentration on your surroundings.
- Check eyesight – Regular eye exams and always wearing eyeglasses if needed can ensure tripping risks are seen and avoided.
- Practice balance – Exercises as straightforward as lifting one foot off the ground and staying balanced on the other foot for about 30 seconds can help.
If a fall does occur, knowing how to fall more safely can reduce the chance of injury. In particular:
Prevent head injuries by intentionally turning your face away from the fall, or folding your chin to your chest if falling backward.
- Bend your knees and elbows to prevent the stiffness that can lead to a break to your elbow or wrist when attempting to catch your fall.
- Roll through the fall, which diffuses the impact of the fall over a greater percentage of your body instead of concentrating it on one location.
- Attempt to fall on fatty tissue, such as on your thighs or bottom, rather than on more bony areas like hips, knees, and elbows.
Taking the following proactive steps also can go a long way towards avoiding a fall:
- Make certain that all walking areas both outside and inside of the home are free of clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords.
- Keep flooring, especially in the bathroom and kitchen area, dry and clean.
- Put up grab bars around the tub and toilet.
- Ensure handrails are positioned and secure alongside all stairwells.
- Remove and replace any worn out carpeting and take away all throw rugs.
At Continuum, our caregiving team is experienced in making the home environment as safe from falls as possible, and we are skilled in providing ambulation assistance and supervision when necessary to help make sure fall risk is reduced. We are also on hand to engage in physician-recommended exercise programs to increase balance and flexibility, resulting in overall better health and wellbeing. Give us a call at (314) 863-9912 or contact us online for a complimentary in-home consultation and discover how we provide the kind of senior care St. Louis families prefer most!