As we are entering the season of fall, we are also observing Fall Prevention Awareness. We have recently observed Fall Prevention Awareness Week around the USA as a way to spread awareness that falls are preventable and there are safety measures and precautions everyone can take to prevent falls from occurring. Every year, more than 1 in 4 adults ages 65+ have a fall. These falls can cause emergency room visits, hip fractures, brain injuries, and more physical ailments. It is so important for all of our Patients at Landmark to understand how to prevent falls especially when dealing with homecare equipment and/or home infusion medication.
While young children and aging adults are most susceptible to falls, falling can happen to anyone at any age. It's important for everyone to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of falling. So what are the conditions that make people more susceptible to falling? According to the CDC the following risk factors are important to note to reduce falling-
Lower body muscle weakness
Vision problems or dizziness
Vitamin D deficiency
Poor footwear or foot pain
Some medicines can affect balance and steadiness
Difficulties with walking and staying balanced
It is possible to have more than 1 of these risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the more susceptible they are to falling. It's important to recognize the risk factors that you or a loved one may have. So what can you do to prevent falling? There are a few things that CDC recommends if you are at risk-
Talk to Your Physician or Healthcare Provider
Your healthcare provider can evaluate your risk of falling and then be able to recommend specific things you can do. You can also ask them about any medications you may be taking that could contribute to dizziness. Asking about a vitamin D supplement is a great way to maintain bone health and strength.
Strength and Balance Exercises
There are low-intensity exercises that are good for people of all ages that can help to strengthen lower body muscles, improve flexibility, and work on balance. Tai chi is one example.
Have Your Eyes Checked
It's important to regularly see an eye doctor to have an accurate eyeglass prescription and update your lenses when needed.
Make Changes in Your Home To Make it Safer
Look for objects you could easily stumble over and move them out of a walking path. There are additional items you can have installed in your home such as grab bars in the tub and railings on the stairs.
For our Patients and Caregivers at Landmark, we know that you may be having new homecare equipment in the home and/or home infusion medication and supplies. These added items in the home can sometimes make navigating around the home even more tricky. It's important to always be aware of any cords or plugs as to not trip over them and to not carry too much in your hands at one time. For our Home Infusion Patients, we usually recommend that the infusions take place in a clean, seated place that is comfortable and easily accessible. For our Power Mobility Patients, you will probably recognize that the power chairs and scooters will make your mobility exponentially easier. It is still very important to be careful when getting in or out of your chair to prevent falling. In rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom when water can sometimes splash on the floor, it's important to always step on a bath mat or lay a towel down to soak up water to prevent slipping and falling on a slippery tile surface.
Whether you or a loved one may be at risk for falling, these are important tips for everyone to be aware of to make changes that could prevent a harsh fall with resulting injuries. Since September is Fall Prevention Awareness month, feel free to send this article to someone who may need a refresher on fall prevention.
For some additional resources on preventing falls please check out the link below-