Prevent Falls and Stay Independent at Home with Home Care
Jun 17, 2016
Important Facts about Falls
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention -CDC- reports that
- Each year millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact one out of three older people fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
- Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).*
Although many falls do not cause injuries, it is reported by the CDC that one out of five falls does cause a serious injury. These injuries include head injuries and/ or broken bones. These types of injuries can cause persons to be unable to do their normal activities of daily living, such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, and personal care. Often the person loses their ability to live independently.
There are many risk factors that contribute to falling; which includes both prescription and over the counter medications, vision problems, difficulties with balance and walking, memory deficits, and many home hazards.
To help prevent falls:
- Have your eyes checked regularly
- Talk to your doctor about medications you are taking both prescribed and over the counter, to see which one may be high fall risk medications, such as sedatives, pain relievers or antidepressants
- Always get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Take your time and make sure you have your balance.
- Wear proper fitting shoes with low heels.
- If needed, use a correctly measured walking aid.
- Remove or tack down all scatter rugs.
- Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
- Avoid using slippery wax on floors.
- Wipe up spills promptly.
- Avoid standing on ladders or chairs.
- Have sturdy hand rails for all stairs inside and outside the home, or, if necessary, purchase a stair lift.
- Make sure that all staircases have good lighting with switches at top and bottom.
- Staircase steps should have a non-slip surface.
- Be sure you have enough light to see where you are walking. Keep a night light on or keep a flashlight by your bed.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Skid-proof the tub and make sure the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
- If possible, bathe only when help is available.
Although, many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls, there are no guarantees.
Older adults may have lower and/or upper body weakness that prevents them from standing or walking without someone assisting them, or those with memory deficits may not remember to use hand railings or their ambulation devices such as a walker or cane.
This is where home care agencies can help.
They provide personal care services to include:
Personal Care: assistance with bathing, grooming, shaving, dressing, toileting and incontinence care. Alzheimer’s and Dementia care: safety monitoring for wandering, falls and home hazards. Assisting with transfers and walking. Homemaker services such as cleaning, cooking, and many more services.
Their goal is to assist clients to remain safe, fall free and independent in their home.