Leaves have changed, trees are bare and Halloween has come and gone.
Fall season is here, however starting today, November marks another more important and serious type of fall.
Today starts Fall Prevention Month.
Alarmingly, 85 per cent of treatment and hospitalizations of Canadian seniors are caused by falling.
According to statistics, the average Canadian senior stays in the hospital up to 10 days longer for a fall than any other issue or disease, it’s also estimated treatment cost nearly $3.4 billion yearly in direct medical costs and 215 older adults are hospitalized each day in Canada due to it.
Considering many falls can lead to significant and even fatal outcomes, doing all we can to reduce them in our love ones helps in a variety of ways but most importantly, making sure they live healthy and for as long as possible.
Fall Prevention Month is about ensuring the public stays informed and educated using practical ideas and resources by organizations or facilities working with the seniors.
In honour of the month, let’s look at a few things surrounding falls.
CAUSES OF FALLS
As we age, the muscles in our body become weaker, limiting our mobility and balance. As we get weaker we become more susceptible to falling.
Poor balance can be a result of weak muscle, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or possible side effects of medications used.
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Dizziness should be taken care of as soon as possible. Though it may not necessarily be dire, it still needs to be taken care of to avoid potential falls. It’s essential to know the reasons why your love one becomes dizzy.
Blackouts, Fainting or Loss of Consciousness
If you unfortunately suffer from blacking out, fainting or loss of consciousness easily, you stand a very high risk of falling.
Loss of consciousness can be as a result of things like increased heart rate, body imbalance like bradycardia (slow heart rate), tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rate.)
Memory Loss, Confusion or Difficulties with Thinking
In our old age, we tend to develop issues relating to loss of memory, confusion, thinking problem and reduced problem-solving skills.
This can have a significant effect on your ability to ascertain risky situations, take cautions when going around your house and realizing harms, leading to a greater tendency to fall.
Vision and Hearing Problems
Issues with your vision and hearing can make it extremely challenging to go around safely. Eye impairments can make it difficult to look out for and discover Fall hazards in your house.
TIPS FOR PREVENTION
Now that we know some of the possible causes of falling, let’s utilize such information and learn some tips on how to prevent them.
Avoid Wearing Loose Clothing
It’s understandable if you want to be comfortable at home but putting on large or baggy clothes can sometimes increase the risk or tendency of falling.
It is advisable for you to go for more fitting and adequately stitched that doesn't drag on behind you when you walk.
Stay on Level One
Despite the precautions that come with stair rails, staircases still present a significant tendency to help a fall. If possible, stay on level one (ground floor) and if unable to, always ensure extra care when navigating the stairs. Also, limit the number of times you go up and down the stairs to reduce the chance of falling.
Ensure the Room is Less Endangered
Make sure the surrounding areas are kept clean and free of clutter to help minimize potential tripping/falling hazards.
If you are caregiving, you should make sure things like cords, tubes, wires, cables or a trailing leg of a chair are taken care of and removed out of the way.
Take your time in doing all of these, and it will be easy for your loved one to navigate through the house
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Put on something fitted and comfortable to the legs to prevent slipping and falling. You can also buy non-slip socks to aid the shoes and ensure utmost firmness and comfort.
Ensure the Surface is not Slippery:
Surfaces like bathtubs, showers or floors in kitchens and bathrooms can be hazardous when wet.
To reduce and prevent falling on delicate surfaces, it is advisable to make use of non-slip mats.
Hopefully with all the information above, you can be well on you way to keeping you loved one safe.