Falls are one of the most common health problems experienced by the elderly and are the most common cause of functional loss of independence.Given the frequency of falls, they are as severe as heart attacks and strokes. So once we understand the danger, our goal is fall prevention in the elderly population.
Past studies have shown that one out of every three elderly people suffer from severe fractures, hip, knee, pelvis, arm and more. These fractures can cause health complications due to the advanced age of the elderly and the inability of the body to recover as quickly and efficiently as in the past.Due to the various physiological effects that occur frequently in the elderly, there is a growing trend of falls. Due to weak bones, weak muscles, lack of alertness and caution, hearing problems, vision problems, blurring and side effects of many drugs that can cause lose of balance.
Four components are needed for stability and equilibrium: cognitive processing, bio mechanical processes, sensory processes, and spatial orientation. All these help our ability to move from point-to-point and advance in space and skill to overcome obstacles in the path.
Walking is associated with muscle strength, joint flexibility, and more. However, in order to actually walk, we need cognitive resources, which vary according to age. As we get older, our brain volume is small and there is a regression in our thinking abilities
Common walking disorders:
Walking cautiously: Walking hesitantly like walking on ice.
Fear of falling: a fear that can even result in avoiding walking or a slow, non-functional walk.
Walking on a wide or narrow footing: Walking with legs apart or in close strides can be an expression of diseases of the central nervous system against degenerative or vascular problems.
Parkinson walking: walking with footprints, like walking in quick mud, alternating stagnation in movements. Another form in this category is a race walk, when a person starts running with a forward tendency, meaning running after the center of gravity.
How we can help Prevent falling?
- Reducing the risk factors at home:
- set up a distress button at home
- Removing carpets or sticking them to the floor
- Putting the tools that are being used by the elderly in accessible place so they don’t have to stand on a chair or ladder to get to their staff.
- To put a railing on the bed (Check our reccomended bedroom aid) in order to avoid falling from the bed. This railing will also will help them to stand up more safely.
- Replace the bulbs with stronger bulbs so that the house and the entrance to the house are properly lit.
- Put the bed lamp to be within reach.
- Put night lighting at the aisles and toilets.
- It is especially important that the passage from the bedroom to the bathroom be free and illuminated at night.
- To prevent falling in the bathroom it is recommended to place in the shower a handle bar, safety rails toilets, shower / bath mats and anti-skid (Check our reccomended bathroom aids)
- Check hearing at least once every two years. Hearing loss may put you at risk, for example: if you cross a road and do not hear a car approaching. In case of significant hearing loss, use a hearing aid
- It’s recommended to use the shower which is safer than the bath.
- It is advisable to use liquid soap – the solid soap may slip from the hand and cause a fall.
- It is recommended to get dry well before leaving the shower.
- To prevent smoothing, immediately wipe the floor
- Do not lock the bathroom door from inside in order to allow for help when needed. It is also recommended that the door opens outward.
- For a stable and safer walk:
- use a walking stick or a walker (Check our reccomended walking aid)
- Make sure the rubber at the base of the stick or walker is intact and not rubbed.
- Wear comfortable shoes (Check our reccomended shoes) that are closed behind, with a wide, low heel and soles that prevent slipping.
- Regular exercise: To engage in sports activities adapted to the elderly, with an emphasis on body balance (like Tai Chi that have been shown to be particularly effective in preventing falls) strength training and, physiotherapy.
- Keeping healthy:
- Check the vision at least once every two years. Poor vision can cause falls. Check if there is another problem to treat, such as cataracts or glaucoma. (when needed is recommended to undergo cataract surgery, which affects the quality of vision)
- Check hearing at least once every two years. A drop-in hearing may put you at risk, for example: if you cross a road and do not hear a car approaching. In case have a hearing aid
- It is recommended to check whether all the medications taken by the elderly person are desirable and whether they cause side effects that may increases the chance of falling
- Make sure they you have good nutrition and proper drinking.
What to do in a case of a fall?
- Prepared in advance essential phone numbers in large and clear handwriting near the phone.
- Make sure that the distress button hanging on your wristwatch
- When falling – Before getting up it’s important to check for injuries.
- Call for help if necessary- if the elderly person was lying on the floor for a long time it’s important to take him/her to the hospital into order to check for injuries (like head injuries which are not show) and to treat the signs of dehydration that are sometimes not visible but appear in the blood tests.