Come across a trip hazard in the home and you might stumble and fall. If you are below a certain age and this occurs, the chances are you’ll be ok. This is not the case for elderly people. As a person grows older, their bones become more brittle and the body is more easily injured. Studies have shown that over the age of 70, people are up to 3 times more likely to die from a ground-level fall (a fall from a standing position) than those under the age of 70.
Elderly people are also significantly more likely to sustain severe injuries upon falling. Resulting injuries often take a long time to heal, depending on the severity of the fall, and the age of the person falling. As a person ages, the body’s ability to heal wounds and injuries gradually slows down. This means that an initially minor injury can easily develop into a long-term, serious issue. As the body takes longer to heal, there is more time for complications to arise. These complications can range from infection to loss of muscle or movement, and can even cause a person to become bedridden. Due to this, it is extremely important to take care of our ageing loved ones to ensure fall risk, both inside and outside of the home is minimised.
We have put together a guide to risk factors related to falling and some helpful tips to help you take care of your ageing loved ones.
Fall Risk Factors
Risk is related to the chance of an event occurring. In this case, the risk would be associated with the likelihood of falling, due to numerous factors. Some of these can be minimised or completely removed to help prevent a fall, whilst others simply need to be taken into account and managed if this is not possible.
These factors are external to the person. They are factors within the surrounding environment that can add to the risk of a fall. This can include anything from wearing the wrong footwear, slipping on loose rugs or carpets, to accidents on the stairs or pavements. This can be made worse by the absence of adequately installed support handrails within the home or by uneven footpaths. Inadequate lighting can also increase the risk of falling as tripping hazards may not be seen.
There are a range of health factors that add to fall risk in the elderly from medication to medical conditions. Certain medications have side effects such as dizziness, which can lead to an increased risk of falling. In addition to this, a number of medical conditions themselves can cause fall risk to be increased.
As a person ages, vision may become impaired, making it difficult to identify possible tripping hazards. In addition to this, the development of chronic diseases, weakness, sensory and balance problems can all lead to an increased likelihood of a fall occurring. Some conditions such as epilepsy or low blood pressure may also cause a person to fall as a symptom of the underlying condition e.g. fitting or fainting.
Tips for Fall Prevention in the Elderly:
Elderly fall prevention is extremely important. The majority of hospital admissions in people over the age of 65 can be accounted for by a fall. A fall can lead to a downward spiral of health, or can even prove fatal in a significant portion of cases. Due to this, it is essential to take precautions to help protect your elderly loved ones from falls. We have put together a list of helpful tips that can aid you in doing this.
It is vital that your ageing parents and grandparents have a full check up on a routine basis. This is necessary so that any medical conditions can be quickly diagnosed and treatment promptly started. A regular visit to a GP, ophthalmologist and ENT specialist is necessary to ensure that their body is functioning adequately and their vision and hearing are not becoming impaired. The quick diagnosis of health issues is paramount as many health issues (especially impaired vision) can lead to a much higher risk of falling.
As we grow older, our body starts to become stiff, resulting in decreased balance and a lack of coordination. Body strength is also reduced making it essential to incorporate adequate exercise into the daily routine. No matter the age, exercise helps to keep the body fit and flexible and promotes coordination and strength. All of these factors can significantly decrease the chance of falling.
As mentioned above, certain medications can cause side effects such as unsteadiness or drowsiness. This can lead to a trip or fall. It is for this reason that medicines should be regularly checked and discontinued if they are seen to be interfering with the body’s regular functions. They should also be discontinued if they are no longer needed; only continue medications that the doctor prescribes to you.
FALL–PROOF YOUR HOME:
Just as you would babyproof your home should you have a new baby in the house, it may be a good idea to fall-proof the homes of ageing relatives. This involves removing all tripping hazards, ensuring rooms and stairs have non slip treads and lighting is adequate throughout the home. Adequate lighting is extremely important in aiding proper vision and preventing falls related to unseen obstacles.
INVEST IN TELECARE EQUIPMENT:
The advancement of technology within the healthcare industry has not only helped to simplify care but has also made growing older much safer. The major player in doing this has been the wide-spread use of telecare equipment. Telecare equipment gives users the ability to call for help should an accident or emergency situation occur. Telecare equipment can be landline or mobile-based, dependent on the needs of the user, and allows the wearer to be connected to a designated contact or monitoring centre at the push of a button.
The SureSafe range of telecare equipment is manufactured with the safety of your elderly loved ones in mind. Our range includes alarms for all needs and requirements; automatic fall alert pendants, landline-based alarms and mobile-based alarms. Our wearable monitored personal alarm devices, with automatic fall detection included, use up to date technology to detect falls. If detected a designated contact, or 24-hour monitoring centre, is immediately alerted and help dispatched if necessary. Wearers can also manually raise the alarm using their elderly panic button, should they feel at risk in any way. This allows both wearers and their loved one’s peace of mind that they will be quickly looked after should a fall occur. This quick response can dramatically impact the severity of injuries sustained, often preventing prolonged complications or even death.
You can trust SureSafe telecare devices to provide prompt assistance to your loved ones in the event of a fall. Our telecare equipment range is made using cutting-edge technology, making sure that your elderly loved ones remain safe both inside and outside of the home. Our telecare devices are unlike other monitored alarm devices; they are lightweight and discreet and can be worn around the wrist or as a pendant.
It is our aim to ensure that every elderly person can live a safe and independent lifestyle for as long as possible. For more information on our fall detection alarms or any other type of personal alarm, contact a member of our expert team today. We can offer advice and help to find the perfect solution for your elderly loved ones!