Imagine, your father or grandma is calling on the phone asking for your help. They had slipped on their bathroom floor. This single slip on the floor can dramatically change the quality of their remaining lives. These calls are frightening for anyone. Those receiving them are terrified for their loved ones.
On the other hand, what if it was you who was making that call? Now, you're thinking, If you had known more information about ways in which falls can be prevented, you could've been spared from the emotional and physical pain of the fall.
That's what we want to help you with today. Here we will demonstrate the importance of being careful and highlight 5 measures you can take to avoid slips and falls.
The importance of being careful
Falls can be quite common in the elderly; 20-35% of people over 60 years old experience falls every single year. Most of them are reduced to a transient worry for older adults and their families, but one in five may cause serious injury. The most common injuries are fractures and concussions, but even if we are lucky enough, falls in the elderly cause a lot of emotional distress and pain.
As we age, our organism does not behave the same way as before. Our bones start losing minerals, our heart and arteries are probably affected by silent health conditions or even symptomatic ones, and along with their circulation, they can experience a very slow and painful healing process.
That’s why they should take measures to prevent falls.
#5. Improving home safety
The key areas to improve safety at home are the bathroom, the stairs, and any other place with a slippery surface or a step.
Make sure to take care of the flooring, use anti-slippery carpets and handles. Improving home safety can be expensive sometimes, but your elders’ safety is worth it. However, home safety alone would not be enough without some additional measures.
#4. Taking A simple vision exam
Balance problems in older adults may be solved more easily than expected. Sometimes, the main problem is progressive vision loss or not having a simple pair of glasses. There are some vision exams you can perform at home, but only a physician would perform a complete test. They may require specialized equipment and dilating your eyes, but the process is painless.
#3. Review your Medication
Even when they are apparently healthy, older adults should go to the doctor regularly. A review of their medication could show one or two drugs that cause dizziness, sedation or confusion as a side effect. Additionally, the doctor might consider appropriate to prescribe calcium and Vitamin D supplements to improve bone density.
#2. Exercise is Key!
Regular Exercise is one of the most important measures we can take to prevent elderly falls. As we age, our muscles start behaving differently. We could develop two major problems called frailty and sarcopenia. All of them involve losing muscle tissue, cause weakness, and balance problems. Many studies have shown that exercise is one of the most effective measures to prevent falls. The idea behind it is strengthening the whole body, with a special focus on the legs and torso muscles.
#1 Educate yourself and your loved ones
What you are doing right now is essential for you and the rest of your family.
Either if you are an older adult or a concerned relative, you should know the value of information. When we are unaware of dangers we won’t find any solution until the damage is done. So, share this piece of information with your dearest relatives, and take all measures necessary to keep your elders safe.
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Sherrington, C., Michaleff, Z. A., Fairhall, N., Paul, S. S., Tiedemann, A., Whitney, J., ... & Lord, S. R. (2016). Exercise to prevent falls in older adults: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2016.
Uusi-Rasi, K., Patil, R., Karinkanta, S., Kannus, P., Tokola, K., Lamberg-Allardt, C., & Sievänen, H. (2015). Exercise and vitamin D in fall prevention among older women: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA internal medicine, 175(5), 703-711.
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