How elderly people can avoid nasty falls at home.
Falls are common at home and 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year. Thankfully many of these falls do not result in an injury but when they do they can be very nasty and sometimes be fatal.
Falls in elderly people can result in fractures, dislocations, sprains and bruising. In this article, we will look at toms of the reasons which elderly people fall and what we can do to minimise the chances of these falls.
What causes falls?
As we get older our bodies change and become a little weaker. Bones become less dense, muscles waste away and ligaments get looser. Our eyes can get worse and our balance can also be affected. Once you add all of this to the mix you have a potential recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, we can't stop ourselves from becoming old but what we can do is help keep our body healthier through our diet and exercise. Forget the commercials of Jack LaLanne doing heavyweights in his 80's, noo I'm not talking about going over the top but simply keeping active.
Walking for an hour a day can keep your muscles healthier and activities such as yoga and tai chi have been shown to be low impact while they can help with balance and muscle atrophy.
How to prevent falls.
Accidents happen and there is no 100% way of preventing falls. However, there are steps you can make around your home to decrease the chance of a fall happening.
Firstly, remove any rugs that could cause a tripping hazard. Rugs can often come loose on the edges making them dangerous very quickly. If you have any rugs that are getting old or ones that move when you walk on them get rid of them now.
Install appropriate safety devices such as walk-in baths, grab bars and handrails in your home. A walk-in bath/shower is much easier to enter and leave than a traditional bath and is also less slippery. Grab bars and handrails can help when sitting on the toilet or walking up the stairs to give you a little more stability.
Socks around the house are comfortable but can be a trip hazard. Our advice would be to always wear shoes or slippers around the home as they give you more grip over traditional socks.
One tip that elderly people tend to forget is to take your time. You are older now and shouldn't be rushing around as much, in fact, you should be taking this time to enjoy your life. Forget about rushing everywhere.
When people rush they get up too quickly and lose their balance, they often don't take time to look around either and because of that falls are far more likely.
Toby King, a personal trainer who has helped older people become more stable on their feet had this to say "As we get older our balance isn't what it used to be. We can improve it through exercise and your body will also see positive changes. You can improve your bone, skin and tendons through a light exercise program like Thai Chi".
Clutter can cause falls in elders so be sure to clean up all the clutter in your home. You will need someone to help you to do this because pottering around your home could cause you to fall. If you have someone who can help you greatly, or you could invest in a cleaner for a few hours a month. Have them to clean up any loose items like papers, shoes, walking sticks and anything else that is a potential hazard.
Finally, our last tip to help elderly people avoid nasty trips and falls at home is to light all of the rooms adequately. As we mentioned earlier on, as you get older your eyesight gets worse. If your home is dark you won't be able to see items on the floor which will cause you to fall.
Lighting is cheap and can make the world of difference so don't neglect the lighting systems in your home.
The above tips are enough to get you started on making your home safer. If you have any tips that could help others please comment below.