Why another Blog about Falling?
Because Falls are still prevalent and dangerous to anyone, particularly anyone 65 years old or older. Especially for Seniors who may be using no support at all, or those using a cane or walker.
Did you know?
Falls (and their aftermath) kill almost as many people as car crashes?
Because a third of seniors in the U.S. fall each year and are the leading cause of injuries for people 65 and older?
Falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. and 76% of these falls are seniors?
Most deaths from falls are due to brain trauma or injuries to the hips or legs?
A third of older adults who fall, break their hip and die within a year?
Falls may not be a normal part of aging but they are prevalent, dangerous and preventable to a large degree.
The leading causes of hospitalizations for older adults are:
COPD, CHF, Diabetes, Medication mix ups and FALLS.
So we know it people fall - often, it can be very serious - broken hip or brain trauma ( to say the least), it can be painful and entail a hospital and possibly a Rehab stay. It is likely painful and statistically, can be deadly. All that from a fall - YES!
So what can you do to keep yourself and loved ones safer from falls?
Look at each room in your home from a safety point of view.
Make each room safe - get rid of clutter, get rid of things that block walkways or make them more narrow.
You don't need those cute little mats which many people trip and fall over. If you have a kitchen set which has the chairs on wheels - change them to solid legs, get rid of them or at the very least - put one or two sturdy chairs around the table - ones which can support you when you get up from them or lean on them.
Put grab bars (at least 2) in the shower/bath, near the toilet, by your bed. Put a rubber mat or skid strips in your shower or tub. - Some Long Term Care Insurance policies will pay for some or all home safety improvements.
Keep the walkway from bed to bathroom lit with at least a night light, at night.
Wear shoes with a rubber sole, lower heal, support to ankle.
Use a "grabber" to reach things off the floor (don't bend over) or on a higher shelf (balance).
If you have fallen in the last 6 months, see your doctor and explore why you have fallen and whether it is time to use an aide like a cane or walker.
If so, learn how to properly use either one. You don't need to trip over the cane.
Learn and do exercises which will help strengthen your legs, improve your balance and steady your gait. See a trained physical therapist.
Get an Emergency Response System, won't prevent a fall but will prevent laying on the floor, in pain for hours or longer - till someone misses you.
Hire an aide-caregiver, (short term or long term) at least to assist in with bathing, shopping, laundry, transferring (if needed), driving and getting in and out of the car and walking to appointments.
These are common sense solutions, and inexpensive. Why risk your head or hip for vanity?
Keep and maintain your independence. That is what you really want, to remain independent preferably at home - so take the necessary precautions to swing the odds in YOUR favor. It is time to play DEFENSE for your Hips.
After falling, your mother or father may develop a fear of falling again. This will usually make them limit their mobility. This increased inactivity or decreased moving around, exercising or just being active can lead to weaker leg muscles and a lesser quality of life -- which can then lead to another fall. Don't let this cycle begin.
Speak with your doctor, discuss starting physical therapy to strengthen your legs, improve balance and gait, stay active, learn how to properly use a cane or walker and get back into the game!