In the last 10 years, the number of fall-related mortalities in the older population has increased by 59%, and the number of seniors visiting the emergency department with fall-related injuries has risen by 19%.
What makes these numbers even more heartbreaking is the fact that most of the falls that occur in the elderly population are preventable. Taking the necessary precautions and putting the right safety measures in place can minimize the risk of falls and keep seniors safe.
Why Are Falls So Common in the Elderly?
Sadly, millions of older adults for every year, and thousands of these falls result in serious injuries or fatalities. There are a number of different factors that can increase fall risks in older adults.
Knowing these factors is important for nursing home staff and caregivers to keep their elderly residents safe and secure. It’s also important for seniors who live alone to be aware of the different things that can increase their risk of falling over.
The most important risk factors for falls in the elderly include:
- Reduced muscle strength and flexibility
- Reduced joint mobility
- Reduced balance and stability
- Cognitive decline
- Impaired vision
- Environmental hazards
- Improper use of walking aids
How to Prevent Falls in Older Adults
Whether you are the carer of older relatives or you work in a nursing home with several senior residents, you will need to know how to prevent falls in elderly adults.
There are also plenty of things that you can do to prevent falls. It could be something as simple as tidying away clutter or keeping every room in the home well lit. Here are some great things that you can do to prevent your older relatives or nursing home residents from falling.
1. Use a Medical Alert System
Depending on which type of medical alarm system you use, it will work as a fall preventative in a particular way.
Firstly, if you use a fall alarm system, it will emit a loud piercing sound of an older adult falling over. The alarm usually attaches to their clothing and when it gets pulled (when the individual falls over), it gets activated automatically.
The second type of alarm is an electronic device with a button. An elderly adult can keep the alarm on their person at all times so that if they fall over, they can activate the alarm immediately using a button.
Once activated, the medical alarm will put the individual in contact with emergency services. Medical personnel can be dispatched to the older adult’s home or the nursing home that they are in to provide on-site treatment. If the senior has sustained nasty injuries that cannot be treated on-site, the medical emergency team will transport them to the one of the nearest hospitals.
While a medical alarm may not always prevent a fall from occurring, it can prevent long-term fall-related injuries and traumas. The quicker an older adult gets help when they have fallen over, the lower the risk of life-threatening injuries.
2. Install Handrails and Ramps
Age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) can cause older adults to lose strength and stability in their lower bodies. As a result, their balance decreases, and they are less able to stay on their feet as they move around on their own.
Handrails are a great way to promote independent walking in older adults without putting their safety at risk. They provide something to grip on if they feel like they’re about to fall over.
You can get handrails installed almost anywhere in the home. It’s best to install them in the areas where your relative or residents spend most of their time and where they will be standing up or walking around.
For example, some of the most common places for handrail insertion are in the kitchen and bathroom. You might also wish to install them along corridors so that the older adult Khan grab the handrails as they are moving from room to room.
3. Get Walk-In Bath Tubs
Washing can be a challenge for older adults due to their decreased joint mobility and balance. They may find that they feel unsteady standing in a shower or climbing into a bathtub.
You can now get walk-in tubs that make it much easier and safer for older adults with limited strength and ability. They have a small door on the side of the tub but eliminate the need for the senior to climb over the side of the top.
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