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How to prevent falls in the elderly

As colder months approach, and with the potential for snow and ice in some regions, we want to offer some advice on how to prevent falls in the elderly.

As a person gets older, the chances of having a fall increases. A fall can be defined as an unintentional event where a person drops to the floor or a lower level. Being one of the main causes of injuries in those over the age of 65, falls can happen for a variety of reasons.

Man holding a walking stick

Causes of falls in the elderly

There are multiple risks and factors that can contribute to the fall of an elderly person. Whilst it can be down to something as simple as environmental factors, it is extremely important to find the root cause to avoid further accidents or injury.

Factors that can cause a fall:

  • muscle weakness
  • poor bone strength
  • poor balance
  • visual impairment
  • hearing loss
  • dehydration
  • side effects of medication
  • environmental hazards (e.g. lose carpet, slippery floor)
  • medical conditions such as Dementia or a Stroke

At Trinity Homecare, we always recommend seeking medical help following a fall, to ensure there are no serious injuries.

If you or a loved one have recently suffered a fall or are concerned about general wellbeing, medical professionals such as your GP are able to carry out simple tests and offer specific help and advice. They are also able to provide a diagnosis and direct you to the right form of treatment, if necessary.

Why is avoiding falls important for the elderly?

Research undertaken by Age UK shows that every minute, six people over the age of 65 suffer a fall. Fall-related injuries are a common and serious problem for older people. Along with hip fractures and other injuries, falling also affects family members and the carers of people who fall. It has an impact on quality of life, health and healthcare costs.

People often experience a loss of independence and confidence after a fall and some become housebound. This is a vicious circle because anxiety about the fall, pain and lack of activity can reduce quality of life further and make people weaker and often more vulnerable to further falls.

According to NHS Choices, the annual cost for all hip fractures in the UK, including medical and social care, is about £2 billion.

How to prevent elderly people falling

Whilst falls can be alarming and a cause for concern, there are preventative measures that can be put in place. Take a look at the following suggestions below:

  • doing strength and balance exercises
  • getting your hearing and vision checked
  • removing hazards in the house such as wires and frayed/ loose carpet
  • Installing stair rails and grab bars
  • using non-slip mats and rugs around the home and in the bath
  • making sure all rooms, passages and staircases are well lit
  • removing clutter
  • using rock salt in gardens and driveways
  • wearing gripped shoes that are well fitted and supportive
  • using non-slip socks around the house
  • wearing sensible clothing that is not easy to trip over
  • looking after your feet and ensuring nails are regularly clipped
  • seeing a chiropodist to support you with any issues with your feet
  • using a personal alarm system
  • having regular reviews of medication

lderly putting on supportive shoes

Home care as a safe option

At Trinity Homecare we believe that getting help to do things you’re unable to do safely on your own is the best way to prevent falls.

Research by the Hub45 also proves that accidents such as “slips, trips and falls” are significantly lower with live-in care than in an institutional care setting, such as a care home.  The research suggests that there are a third fewer falls and a quarter less hip fracture reports when receiving care at home.

Live-in care may not be the best-suited option for you or your loved one which is why we are pleased to provide a broad range of services, tailored to suit your needs. Whether you are looking for a trusted carer to visit once or twice a week for reassurance, or full-time live-in care, we are here to offer both physical and emotional support.

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At Trinity Homecare, we are committed to supporting life’s journeys. Our expert team are able to provide free advice on your care requirements. Whether you are at the initial stages of enquiring or would like to book a care needs assessment with a care manager, why not get in touch today to find out more.

Rated as ‘Oustanding’ by the Care Quality Commission and specialists in conditions such as Dementia, give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve this winter.

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