The Link between Fall Prevention and Elderly Independence
According to experts, fall down accidents are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.
Falls can have devastating emotional and physical effects on elderly individuals. Some elderly individuals feel less confident about their mobility after a fall, which can cause depression and feelings of isolation. Elderly individuals involved in a fall down typically suffer significant injuries, including hip fractures, broken bones and brain injures/traumatic brain injuries.
Studies show one in four older Americans fall each year. Help your elderly loved one prevent fall down injuries by considering the following 4 tips:
- De-clutter & Assess Liabilities: Ensure your elderly loved one’s home is tidy, organized, and free of tripping hazards (such as electrical cords and loose carpet). Keep in mind if your elderly loved one’s clothing is too baggy that could also create a tripping hazard.
- Install Tools: Items like grab bars and handrails can greatly reduce the likelihood of a fall. Consider installing these items in bathrooms (near toilets and tubs), in hallways and stairways. Be sure to properly install or seek the assistance of a skilled handyman. Install nonslip surfaces in bathtubs, showers, and on any other surface that could become dangerous when wet.
- Light it up: Simply replacing old light bulbs with brighter bulbs can help prevent falls. It is a good idea to utilize nightlights in bedrooms and bathrooms during evening hours.
- Balance and Flexibility: Experts widely agree staying active as possible is key in preventing fall downs. “Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.”- Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic also suggests wearing sensible shoes and talking to your doctor about medications that may increase your risk of a fall.
Doing everything you can to prevent your elderly loved one from sustaining fall down injuries is a great way to help them remain independent, healthy, and happy. You can check out more fall prevention tips on the Mayo Clinic’s website.