Tips for Fall Prevention in Later Life
Tips for Fall Prevention in Later Life
Falls are one of the main injury risks faced by elderly people. The Evidence website reports
that there are 86,000 hip fractures every year in the UK and that 95% of them are caused by
falls, costing the NHS £1.7 billion a year.
This guide looks at how a fall can impact the life of an elderly person, as well as
providing ways in which the risk of falls can be reduced.
The Impact of a Fall in Later Life
There are many ways in which a fall can affect an elderly person. The obvious impact is the pain
and suffering caused by the resulting injury. Even minor injuries can prevent an elderly person
from carrying out daily tasks, and more serious injuries can lead to lengthy hospital stays.
But it is not only the discomfort of a physical injury that has to be considered. There is also the
management of the injury to take into account. Receiving care can be expensive, and it can also
affect the victim's self-confidence and reduce their quality of life by affecting their independence.
So what can be done to reduce falls?
fall prevention tips
If you have already experienced a fall, tell your doctor about it, including the circumstances surrounding the fall. A previous fall is one of the biggest risk factors for a future fall, and your doctor may help to come up with preventative strategies. They may also spot a problem that you were unaware of, such as a condition that makes falls more likely, and they can then provide you with medication, treatment or recommendations to reduce the risk of further falls.
Some medicines can have side effects including tiredness or dizziness. Talk to your doctor about this because they could make falls more likely at certain times of the day. Your doctor may decide to take you off certain medications if they present a risk.
You should also ensure you see your optometrist regularly for an eye test. Failing vision can increase the risk of falls, and your optometrist can check that you are using the right glasses.
Try to stay active as much as possible. As long as you are physically able and your doctor gives you the all clear, take up a gentle activity like walking or swimming. Exercise can be relaxing and it can also help you to increase your muscle strength and improve coordination and balance.
Hazards in the home are another risk area. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) claims that 55% of accidents in the home that lead to injuries result from falls. Go over your home, or get someone to help you, and analyse the risks in every room. Look for objects on the floor, wires, plants, loose carpets and rugs, slippery surfaces, damaged flooring and anything else that presents a risk. You could also invest in non-slip mats for the bath, and put things you regularly use within reach so you don't have to climb on a chair or stool. Also try to get into the habit of cleaning spills as soon as they occur.
You may want to use specialist devices for extra support. These could include a cane for walking, hand rails & stairlifts on the stairs or in the bath and grab bars in the shower.
Make sure your home is well lit so that you can see clearly. Install lights if it gets too dark in any areas of your home, and make sure switches are easy to reach. You could also use a night light in case you have to get up in the night.
Now may also be a good time to ensure you are wearing sensible footwear. Shoes that fit properly and have non-slip soles could help to reduce the risk of falling.
reduce the risk of falls
Falls can have a devastating impact on the elderly. A simple fall could lead to avoidable suffering
as well as financial hardship and reduced quality of life. Stay safe by following the prevention tips,
and if you care for an elderly person, help them to make changes in their home and in their
lifestyle to reduce the risk of falls.