What a nightmarish situation to be in! Unfortunately, falls are a reality for nearly one in three adults over the age of 65, in Canada, every year. Sudden falls can not only cause severe injuries but can also aggravate mental stress making it difficult for seniors to feel secure in their own homes.
What’s worse is falling and not being able to get back up. One can’t even imagine how helpless and frightening that experience would feel. It can be devastating for both the body and mind. So, what can be done to avoid falling and being unable to get back up?
In this blog, we will look at measures you can take to prevent falls and what to do in instances where a senior has fallen and is unable to get up.
Preventing Falls - Top Tips
The fear of falling is genuine for many older adults. Even if they have never experienced a fall they can still be worried about that prospect.
Unfortunately, as people age, the risk of falling is higher and more dangerous as the body and mind can be more fragile. This can prey on the back of the minds of older adults.
As a result, it can cause older people to avoid activities that help keep them active such as walking, shopping, exercising, and more.
The good news is that there are many simple ways to safeguard against most falls. Here are some of our top picks:
- Take The Time To Exercise
Staying physically active is essential as we grow older. Exercising regularly can help improve muscle strength and make joints, ligaments, and tendons more flexible. Even exercising for just half an hour every day can have many associated health benefits including lowering the risk of falls due to weakness or bone loss.
- Periodically Test For Vision & Hearing
It is common for individuals to have reduced vision or sense of hearing as they grow older. Even slight changes to these senses can result in accidental falls and injuries. Adjusting to low vision or poor hearing can take time, as such, it is vital that seniors are routinely tested for vision and hearing so even the slightest changes can be accounted for.
- Be Knowledgeable About Medication
Always make sure that you know exactly what medication is being taken and at what time. It is also important to be aware of all side effects associated with each of these medications and supplements. Many drugs can cause patients to feel dizzy or drowsy. Always consults with a physician if this is the case.
- Move Aside Any Furniture Or Obstacles In The Way
Always keep hallways, stairs, entrances, and exits clear of any unnecessary furniture or obstacles that could become a tripping or falling hazard. Ensure a safe and easy path to walk around the house. This can help prevent falls and also boost their confidence when it comes to walking and moving around on their own.
- The Use Of Assistive Devices
Whenever possible encourage the use of a cane or a walker when moving around the house. These assistive devices are designed specifically to help prevent falls and thus should be used whenever possible. Consult with a physical or occupational therapist to gain a better idea of what assistive device would be best suited to a senior’s needs. It is also important to ensure that the device is properly fitted. A physiotherapist or trained home healthcare provider can assist with making sure that the device is at the right height. When not fitted properly, it can cause other physical issues or become a hazard itself.
- Take Your Time
What’s the rush? It’s important to try and avoid any sudden movements, such as standing up too quickly as it can cause blood pressure to drop making one wobbly and prone to falling or collapsing.
If your loved one rushes to answer the phone, consider cordless phones, caller ID, and voicemail so that they can call the person back rather than rush to get the call.
What To Do In Instances Where “I’ve Fallen & I Can’t Get Up”
This may sound a bit cliche but the first thing one should do if they have fallen and are unable to get up is to remain calm. Focus on what is happening around you and if you are feeling any pain or discomfort.
Next, try to get a sense of where you are and what is around you. There might be hazards that could pose a greater danger or something that could help you get the assistance you need.
If moving causes too much pain or you can’t seem to move at all, stay still and try to shout for help. Call out as loud as you can. Chances are even if no one is home, your neighbors might hear your cry and come to your aid. You can also use a heavy object to throw at a window or bang against a wall to get the attention of your neighbors or even pedestrians passing by.
If you feel you have limited movement, try reaching for your phone by crawling or sliding towards it. Calling someone is your best bet in such an instance. Just make sure you don’t overexert yourself. Take your time and remain calm.
Make sure you press the panic button on your medical alert system. Any individual over the age of 65 who lives alone should have such a device on them at all times.
Automatic fall detection devices, such as the ones offered by Northwood Intouch are even better. Even if an individual is unable to move the device will automatically send out a help call as soon as a fall is detected - alerting you and the nearest emergency response center to come to their immediate aid.
Such a device can be a lifesaver and is highly recommended for seniors who have fallen in the past or are afraid of falling. By wearing this device around their necks, seniors no longer have to limit how they live their lives and can have an increased sense of security knowing help is always at their fingertips.
An automatic fall detection unit offers the ultimate freedom and peace of mind for both the caregiver and the patient in a discreet and comfortable manner. For more information visit Northwood Intouch.