It is not uncommon to hear of elderly people injuring themselves due to falls. Unluckily for them, the risk of falling increases with age. A fall for an elderly has many repercussions- both physical and mental.
A staggering number of elderly people are admitted to hospitals because of fall injuries such as head injuries, hip fractures, or other broken bones like wrists, or ankles. For the more unfortunate ones, it could result in paralysis or even death. For some, a fall can be mentally scarring resulting in them becoming more dependant. In some cases, even if the elderly is not injured, they might develop a strong fear of falling which may interfere with their daily activities. This lack of movement or exercise may increase their risks of a fall.
Falling in the elderly can be due to many reasons. They are generally weak and have poor vision. They may have difficulties in balancing. Other ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis etc. may be contributing factors. Also, side-effects of medications, that they maybe taking could make them unsteady.
The key issues for falls in elderly are:
- Vision deficits
- Impairment in Sense of Balance
- Medication adjustments
- Environmental causes (slippery floors/lack of grab bars)
- Hypotension / Low Blood Pressure
- Nutritional deficit leading to weakness
- Cardiac issues
Recuperation at such an age is an up-hill task. Prevention is definitely better than cure. Here are a few tips that can be put to practice to prevent accidents:
- Exercises may help improve flexibility, balance and strengthen muscles
- Nutritious diet
- Taking prescribed medicines regularly
- Regular medical check-ups
- De-cluttering living spaces to avoid risk of tripping over
- Adequate lighting even at night
- Wearing comfortable shoes with a good grip
- Use of aiding devices like walking sticks, installing hand rails, grab rails and non-slip mats in bathrooms and kitchens
- Wiping spills immediately
- Wearing clothes that fit well and that do not hang low
A simple fall can be traumatic and may having lasting effects for the ageing. The once proud care-givers do not like to be on the receiving end of care. Taking small measures to prevent them can go a long way in providing a safe, secure and happy environment for the elderly.