Preventing falls in the elderly

As we head into the winter months, the pressure on the health services will continue to grow, particularly as we aren’t yet out of the woods in terms of Covid-19. 

For seniors, one of the biggest causes of hospital admissions is actually something really simple: falling. 

Whilst falling may not sound like such a big deal, a fall can be particular dangerous for an older person.  It can happen all to easily at home, or when out and about but luckily there are some preventative measures that people can take to lessen their risks of falling.

Get Active

Balance and strength are both so important to give us stability and stop us from falling.  As we get older it can become more challenging to do physical activity, however you don’t need to do high-impact exercise to feel the benefits.

Swimming, Tai Chi or seated exercise classes such as Yoga can offer a more relaxed activity.  You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to follow an exercise regime, there are lots of videos on YouTube which are aimed at seniors.
Participating in physical activity on a regular basis can help you to improve your coordination and strength.  

Check Your Medication

If you are prone to falling, then there could be something underlying so it’s worth having a chat with your GP.  Falling could be caused by loss of balance due to inner ear infections, or by weaknesses in your vision.  It may also be caused by medications particularly sedatives or antidepressants which can come with side effects.  Your GP may be able to prescribe a different type which has a lower fall risk.

Remove tripping hazards

As the old saying goes, most accidents really do tend to happen in the home.  A fall can happen all too easily if there are cables across the floor, or unusual items lying around where they shouldn’t be.  Try to keep the floor free from hazards – if you have a CAREGiver that visits you, they can help you to maintain a safe living environment by checking and clearing any tripping hazards in your home. 

Stay hydrated

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, which in turn could cause dizziness or fatigue, increasing your fall risk.  Try to drink adequate fluids every day to ensure you stay hydrated.  

Consider the use of mobility devices

If you are struggling with balance, whether it’s because you are recovering from an injury or you’re simply not as strong and active as you once were, then mobility devices can be very helpful.  A walker or a cane could give you the assistance you need to get around and help build your confidence to get back on your feet. 

Watch out for changes in the weather

Although the majority of falls happen inside the home, there is also the chance that they may happen outside.  Fallen leaves in the Autumn may look appealing but can be very wet and slippery and could hide uneven surfaces beneath.  In winter, ice and snow can be dangerous too.  At home, you can use salt or de-icer to keep paths and walkways clear, but extra attention should be paid when out and about.

If you require additional support around the home, then the assistance of a CAREGiver may help to bring peace of mind.  If you would like more information, then please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team.