Today, September 23rd, 2019, is National Fall Prevention Day. It’s no question that falls can cause serious health issues like breaks and fractures. Knowing this, whether one has fallen or not, it can cause ongoing fear. The effects can be both physical and emotional. It can put a damper on someone’s life and even break their spirit.
Half of all falls happen at home and they are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries. Talk to your doctor, there are home therapy benefits for fall prevention programs with no need to travel to rehab.
Fall prevention programs may include:
- Gait training exercises can increase strength, stretching for flexibility and creating a stronger core to support yourself, or offer instruction on using adaptive devices such as a walker or a cane.
- Check to be sure there aren’t balance issues. If there are, they could be caused by pain or numbness in legs or feet, and lead to the lack of strength and flexibility.
- Begin a balance improvement program. Often Tai Chi and modified yoga are good ways to increase strength and flexibility while promoting good balance, sociability and overall prevention of falls.
As always, check with your doctor before beginning a change in exercise.
The best way to avoid and prevent such terrible falls is by identifying specific risk areas.
- Environmental Risks
- Age-related Risks
- Health and Medication Risks
Environmental Risks: make sure to clear pathways, clear all clutter, have handrails and support bars at all stairs and in all bathrooms. The bathroom and stairs are high-risk areas. Support bars need to be by the toilet, tub, and shower. To be extra safe remove all throw rugs or make sure all rugs are non-skid.
Age-related Risks: There are two major factors to age-related risks: vision and hearing. In terms of vision, make sure your prescription is up to date, make sure areas are well lit and do not have glare, install nightlights in hallways and bathrooms. To address hearing, make sure hearing aids are cleaned and cleared of any ear wax, and if you don’t use hearing aids, have your ears routinely cleared of excess wax.
Health and Medication Risks: Many medicines can cause bones to more fragile (discuss with your doctor) and can cause bones to break or fracture even without trauma. Make sure to be checked for osteoporosis, especially for women. Doing weight-bearing exercises and committing to a routine can help, as well as sticking to a well-balanced diet. Calcium supplements can assist as well. Discuss all exercise, diet, and supplements with your doctor. The more medications people are on increases the chance of drug interactions, and the risk of side-effects. Some side-effects could cause drowsiness and dizziness, which create inherent fall risks.
As home care specialists, Affinity works with your physician to create and implement a safety plan. We take the extra steps needed to help our patients prevent falls and the injuries they can cause. We believe prevention is key. We have amazing therapy programs to assist those who need help in improving their overall health and lifestyle to prevent falls. In the event you have already suffered a fall, we are in your home assisting the healing and recovery process.
Keep yourself safe and prevent yourself from falling today!