The Effects of Falls Are More Serious for seniors
Though children often fall at playground during play, their injuries are generally minor. The elderly have greater physical challenges when they experience a fall. Osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones, can make their injuries more severe. Bed rest can also affect their health in many ways. Lack of activity can make muscles weaker and can cause shallow breathing, which can lead to pneumonia.
Why Seniors Are Prone To Falls
Older people are more prone to falling because of a number of different factors. People over the age of 65 have weaker muscles and bones that are less dense. Their vision may be affected by cataracts or macular degeneration. They have more difficulty with balance. They may take medications that can cause dizziness. These effects can occur in combination, putting them at significant risk for falls.
Hazards in the Home
Ordinary activities can increase the risk for falls in the home. Kitchen spills can lead to slipping and falling. Electrical cords to TVs and other electronic equipment can cause tripping hazards. Furniture may block traffic patterns in rooms. Items may fall on the floor without being noticed. Floor mats or area rugs can lift at the corners, causing trips and falls. Being alert to these hazards can help to make your home more fall-proof.
Hazards in Nursing Facilities
Patients in nursing facilities can also be injured by unexpected falls. Simple actions such as shifting their weight from a walker to a chair, or the chair to a walker, can result in an unexpected fall. The supervisors of these facilities should ensure that all walkers are equipped with non-slip feet and have a suitable braking mechanism to provide stability during these changes in position. Bathrooms should be equipped with safety bars and non-skid mats to prevent falls and injury. Hallways should be kept clear of hazards. Special care should be given to lighting to allow residents to move about after dark without risk of injury.
How To Be More "Fall-Conscious"
To prevent falls in the home or other facility, residents must learn to monitor the premises for hazards that arise in the process of normal activity.
Clean up spills as soon as they occur.
Use double-sided tape to secure area rugs and floor mats.
Tuck electrical cords out of traffic paths.
Provide good lighting for stairways and hallways.
Install grab-rails at toilet, bathtub and shower.
Have family members put away toys, games, hobby materials and other items that can cause fall hazards.
Remove snow and ice from stairways and sidewalks immediately.
Always wear good footwear that holds to feet securely.
Monitor older family members for medication side effects that could affect their balance.
These tips can help to keep seniors safe and healthy, allowing them to enjoy life on their own terms for as long as possible.
Useful links for more information:
Preventing falls at home
What can you do to prevent falls at home- Brochure
Home fall prevention checklist