Falls are quite common irrespective of the age, but as we age the occurrence of falls and the severity of injury resulting from it also goes up. Sometimes, it becomes the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people above 65 if not managed well. Fractures of wrist, shoulder spine and pelvic are some of the common injuries of falls. It hinders the quality of life of the elderly community immensely as the treatment procedure involves prolonged hospitalization followed by decreased independence and mobility. However, many falls can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices and safety modifications in the home.
Here are some of the ways falls and fractures in elderly can be prevented:
• Becoming physically active and maintaining your health make you less prone to falling.
• You need to comprehend your health and medications first in order to make the alterations in your lifestyle.
• Book yourself for a yearly eye examination and other important vitals like evaluation for cardiac and blood pressure issues.
• Your diet also plays a pivotal role. Enrich diet with dietary calcium and Vitamin D.
• Quit smoking and avoid excessive alcohol intake.
• Keep your medications up-to-date and check with your doctors with whom you consult frequently. Ensure that the medications are well-labeled. Make sure that the medications are consumed on scheduled time with a full glass of water, unless otherwise instructed.
• Consult the doctor for starting an exercise program according to your body’s specifications. The exercise program should have physical activities that aid agility, strength, balance, and coordination. If you want to develop your bone strength and slow down the progression of osteoporosis, climbing stairs, jogging, hiking, dancing, weight training and other activities can help build bone strength. Gardening and cycling can also improve health and life quality.
• Make certain the fact that you are wearing properly-fitting shoes that has nonskid soles. High heels are a complete no no. If you are wearing shows with laces then make sure that you have tied them properly. In case there is a problem in putting on your shoes, take help of a long-handled shoehorn. Never walk in your stocking feet. Slippers that have stretched and are too loose should be replaced immediately.
• Studies have shown that incorporating simple safety modifications at home, where most senior falls, can substantially cut down the risk of falls and related injuries. For example- place a lamp in the bedroom, keep the telephone handy, or flashlight near your bed. The bed should be comfortable enough to get into and out of. Be careful about the sheets you are using. Make sure you’re using non-slippery material such as wool or cotton. Make sure that the clothes in the closet are arranged properly and are easy to reach.
• At night, there should be adequate light along the route between the bedroom and the bathroom. In the living areas, arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms. Keep tables, magazine racks, footrests, and plants out of the path of walking.
• Washroom should have a slip-resistant rug adjacent to the bathtub for safe exit and entry. Hang the liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower wall. Install grab bars on the bathroom walls.
• Make use of a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if you have problem in bending down yourself to the floor of the tub or if you are unsteady.
• When a fall happens, consult your doctor immediately.