Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency room annually. One in three people over the age of 65 fall every year; many times they are repeat falls.
With statistics like these, why then has fall prevention become such a sensitive and taboo subject?
Avoiding the subject of falls can have drastic and permanent consequences which directly affect quality of life and independence. 40 percent of all nursing home admissions are due to falls.
What can you do to prevent falls in your home? It’s important to identify areas of concern or difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) in your home, i.e., the bathroom, showering, etc.
There are a variety of “risk factors” for falls which can be modified and easily addressed. The following risk factors can be modifiable:
• Bathroom (safety grab bars, nonslip treatment of often wet/slippery surfaces such as floor, tub and shower)
• Remove loose rugs/bathmats
• Hallway lighting
• Remove obstacles, cords – keep free and clear pathways
• Keep everyday use items within easy reach – avoiding step stools, ladders or “counter climbing”
• Hearing and vision exams
• Speak with your primary care provider if you have experienced falls -Have a home safety assessment to learn what fall risks are in your home
The American and British Geriatric Societies published “Multifactorial risk assessment and intervention strategies are effective in decreasing the rate of falls and have similar risk reduction to that of other prevention measures such as statins for cardiovascular disease”
Urge caregivers responsible for at risk-individuals to take action as follows:
• Watch for “red flags” – tripping, falling, confusion, balance issues
• Determine if they are at risk
• Help them to be honest – be empathetic
• Report findings and assist them in seeking fall prevention specialists to provide assistance
There are many simple, cost-effective fall prevention solutions and interventions for the home. They may make the difference between dependence and independence and definitely promote safe aging in place at home. It’s important to work with your care provider team to identify and address your safety needs.
Article provided by: Measurabilities Home Safety LLC, fall prevention home safety specialists, 480-214-9725, measurabilities.com.