Understanding Falls and Implementing Fall PreventionFalls have long been a staple of the slapstick comedy genre. The reality of falls in the home is much more serious. Elderly or otherwise frail individuals can suffer severe consequences from a fall. Let’s look at why falls in the home occur and what steps individuals can take to prevent them.
What To Know About Falls
Falls in the home are nothing to take lightly. The CDC says that if the rate of fall-related deaths continues on its current trajectory, we may have 7 fall deaths every hour by the year 2030.
Even if a fall is not fatal, it can lead to serious injuries and hospitalization. Some fall-related injuries and consequences include things like:
- Broken hips
- Broken arms
- Broken ankles
- Broken wrists
- Head injury or potential brain damage
- Emotional and mental trauma stemming from fear of falling again.
Falling in the home can be physically, emotionally, and mentally traumatizing to the individual. The injuries sustained could be life-altering or debilitating. That’s a big reason prevention is such an important topic.
Hazards In The Home That Increase Fall Risk
One great way to be proactive in fall prevention is for the individual to assess their living space itself for hazards. Falls can be caused by obvious things, or things we may not even consider.Some things to look out for that may lead to falls include:
- Pets that lie in walkways
- Cords that cross main paths
- Improper or insufficient lighting
- Unstable furniture
- Area or throw rugs
Since 80% of falls happen in the bathroom, it should be a focal point in the effort to avoid falls in the home. Some bathroom-specific things that can be done to help prevent falls include:
- Not having a toilet that’s too low
- Consider getting a walk-in tub or shower
- Use non-slip mats in the tub or shower
- Use grab bars in the tub and near the toilet
- Be conscientious of water on the floor and wipe it up immediately
If these safety issues are corrected, it can go far in making sure falls don’t happen.
Personal Factors In Fall Prevention
Another facet of fall prevention to consider is the individuals themselves. They can do numerous things to help themselves prevent falls, such as:
- Taking medications properly, and being aware of their effects
- Getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis
- Avoiding alcohol
- Starting an exercise regimen to improve muscle tone and strength
- Using walking aids like walkers or canes, if necessary
Elderly or vulnerable people can take steps that will allow them to be safer in their living spaces. Falls are not inevitable, and having the right knowledge can save hospital trips as well as lives.