Falls among older people are all too frequent and may have dire consequences. Taking preventative measures is important, including examining the house for fall dangers like throw rugs or other trip and fall hazards, poor lighting, and a lack of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there is another strategy being advised now: making a fall plan of care, which, when implemented properly, has been found to decrease fall-related emergency room visits by as much as 40%.
So while we absolutely do not want to plan for a loved one to fall, we can be better prepared by helping the person take the following actions towards preventing falls at home:
- Remain alert – Avoid letting your brain wander and instead keep your full concentration on your surroundings.
- Check eyesight – Frequent eye tests and constantly wearing eyeglasses if required can make sure tripping hazards are seen and bypassed.
- Practice balance – Exercises as straight forward as lifting one foot off the ground and remaining balanced on the other foot for 30 seconds can help.
If a fall does take place, understanding the way to fall more safely can reduce the risk of injury. In particular:
- Prevent head injuries by purposely turning your face away from the fall, or folding your chin to your chest if falling back.
- Bend the elbows and knees to stop the stiffness which can trigger a break to the elbow or wrist when attempting to catch your fall.
- Roll with the fall, which diffuses the impact of the fall over an increased percentage of your body instead of focusing it on a single location.
- Try to fall on fatty tissue, such as on the thighs or bottom, rather than on more bony surfaces like the hips, knees, or elbows.
Taking the following proactive steps can also go a long way towards avoiding a fall:
- Make certain that all walking areas both outside and inside of the house are free from clutter and any likely tripping dangers, such as extension cords
- Keep floors, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, dry and clean
- Mount grab bars around the tub and toilet
- Make sure handrails are in place and secure along all stairways
- Replace any tattered carpeting and take away all loose rugs
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, our caregiving team is qualified in making the house environment as safe from falls as it can be, and we are knowledgeable in providing ambulation help and supervision when necessary to help ensure fall risk is minimal. We’re also available to take part in physician-recommended fitness programs to improve stability and flexibility, resulting in better overall health. Give us a call at (404) 228-0103 or contact us online for a free in-home assessment to see additional ways our in home care GA team can help!