As we grow older, it is normal for our physical capabilities and balance to change, due to age, health conditions, or medication. These changes can often lead to falls and accidents. In fact, an estimated minimum one-third of individuals aged 65 and older fall one or more times each year. Of those, most do not result in serious injury, but many do. Falls are actually a leading cause of injury amongst the elderly population, with 3% of elderly people being admitted to hospital due to falls in 2007-2008. Thus, with falls so common and potentially so dangerous, it is important to consider strategies to prevent these falls from happening through elderly injury prevention. Below we outline eight simple ways you can prevent falls with the help of our In-Home Aged Care Services.
Talk to Your Care Coordinator
One of the first things you should do for elderly injury prevention if you’re worried about falls is to make an appointment with your Age Up Health Care Coordinator to discuss how to manage the risks. Our Coordinators are very experienced in recommending and arranging different types of resources for different lifestyles and can give you sound advice on which may be a good fit for you. Our allied health professionals specialise in In-Home Senior Care services including balance and mobility programs, strength programs and recommending equipment and aids that may help you around the house., from podiatry to optometry, without waiting rooms or long drives. You Care Coordinator may also recommend you speak to your doctor to discuss the effects of different medications or health conditions on your risk of falling.
Try to Stay Active and Healthy for Elderly Injury Prevention
Eating well and keeping active with exercises to improve your flexibility, coordination, balance, and strength can go a long way towards preventing a fall. Gentle group activities like Tai Chi or walking groups are great options to maintain your fitness while being safe and not causing unnecessary strain. If you would like to organise an activity, have a chat with our Bespoke Care and Support Services personnel, and we’ll recommend something from our wide range of community and social programs. Alternatively, our In-Home Senior Care professionals may be able to recommend a personalised exercise routine to suit your needs.
Dress Sensibly for Elderly Injury Prevention
The things we wear have the potential to increase the chances of falling significantly. High heeled, slippery, uncomfortable shoes or loose slippers can cause you to stumble, and very long dresses, skirts, or gowns can get caught under your feet and trip you. To minimise the risks with elderly injury prevention, wear only well-fitting, sturdy, flat shoes with slip-resistant soles, and try not to wear clothing that falls too close to the ground or can tangle your feet.
Reduce Physical Risks on Floors for Elderly Injury Prevention
Many falls happen due to things on the ground such as clutter or spills that cause you to lose your balance. To prevent this, try to keep your floors as clean as possible. Clean spills and messes as soon as you can, as putting it off may lead to a fall later on. Similarly, try to clear the floor of any clutter, such as small items or loose cords, and use adhesive tabs on edges of rugs that won’t stay down. In your garden or entryway, try to ensure a smooth pathway free of any moss or lichen that can cause slips. If decluttering is becoming more difficult, our In-Home Care Packages offer support-at-home services to help you with anything from cleaning up to food prep and personal care.
Adapt Your Home to Your Needs
Aside from smaller changes like keeping floors clear and cleaning messes, you may want to consider implementing larger changes to reduce risks further. This can include rearranging low or inconvenient furniture in high-traffic areas, reducing your use of stairs if possible, and painting on hard-to-see step edges to improve visibility. If you identify a spot or route in your home that makes you feel unsafe, our In-Home Care Packages provide a carer who can help you to pinpoint what exactly the issue is and implement solutions.
Keep it Light for Elderly Injury Prevention
It is vital for elderly injury prevention to ensure good lighting in your home to remove the unnecessary risks of falling. Well-lit spaces are significantly less likely to cause falls as it is easier to see any potential fall hazards and regain your balance. Places that should be particularly well lit include your living space, as well as any often-taken routes such as from your bedroom to your bathroom at night. Your Care Coordinator can help you with installation and planning, and advise what may be available to you under your Home Care Package funding.
Know When to Ask for Help
It is completely okay to ask for help in situations you are unsure of or that may be unsafe. Try your best not to put yourself in unnecessarily risky or dangerous situations that could initiate a fall. This includes reaching for something too high up or putting yourself in precarious situations that require a lot of balance such as changing a lightbulb. Instead, know when to ask for help in these scenarios and call your In-Home Care Package carer, a family member, or a friend to help you.
Consider Assistive Devices
To help you keep your balance, consider installing assistive devices in your home such as handrails, non-slip treads, raised toilet seats, or grab rails. These can be useful in potentially risky locations such as stairways and bathrooms. Grab rails in bathrooms, baths or showers can help support you while standing or getting up on slippery tile, and a plastic seat in the bath can allow you to sit if that suits you better. At Age Up Health, we’re proud to offer a range of services in our In-Home Care Packages to help install specialised equipment and perform other home modifications. We can arrange a professional assessment with an Occupational Therapist, which can be fully claimed under your Home Care Package.