Trips and falls are among the most predominant causes of injury for seniors, and the negative effects and outcomes that a fall can have for seniors can alter their overall quality of life.
Keeping on top of the potential risk factors and dangers associated with falls, and taking steps to put preventative measures in place can help keep the seniors of Ottawa safer and more comfortable within their homes.
Consequences of a Fall
The more vulnerable state of health that comes with older age means that a fall can cause significant damage that can impact seniors’ independence and quality of life in powerful ways. A fall can possibly lead to brain injuries, fractures, and other physical injuries, and can also cause greater feelings of anxiety concerning the possibility that another fall might happen, and these feelings can discourage seniors from walking around at all, causing them to spend more time in a sedentary state. For these reasons among others, something as apparently simple as one little fall actually has the potential to alter both the physical and mental health of seniors in a negative way.
Keeping Seniors Safe
An important part of the process of putting practices into place that can help to keep seniors safer from the risks of falling is detecting and making ourselves aware of the vulnerabilities and risk factors that are present in each seniors’ individual case. A whole bunch of different elements, such as medications, chronic health problems, visual impairments, lack of physical fitness, and environmental factors can all contribute to the cause of falls if they remain ignored or unchecked. Being aware of possible risk factors can help in the process of arranging strategies that can help reduce seniors’ risks of falling.
- Talk to a Health Professional: Consult a health professional to have them assess risk factors for falling and detect any health-related vulnerabilities that may lead to a fall.
- Schedule Routine Vision and Hearing Tests: Difficulties with vision and trouble hearing in an environment are important risk factors for falls. Assessing the health of eyes and ears on a regular basis can help to detect and address problems promptly so that aids such as glasses or hearing-aids can be implemented or updated accordingly
- Make Yourself Aware of Medication Side-Effects: Dizziness and fatigue are common side-effects of medications, and may contribute to fall risk. Make sure that you are aware not only of the possible side-effects of each medication, but also how multiple drugs might interact with one another to increase the possible risk of falling.
- Know the Symptoms of Existing Health Conditions: Being aware of the symptoms that come along with existing health conditions can offer insight into whether these conditions might cause vision, balance, movement, or hearing changes that make it easier to fall.
- Keep the Floor Clear: Clear clutter, tuck away chords, rug corners, and other things that are often tripped on, ensure rooms are well lit so that the way is clear, and arrange furniture in a safe and easily navigable arrangement. In some areas, such as the bathroom, it can also be helpful to install hand rails.
- Keep Fit: Maintaining a level of physical fitness helps to develop balance and keep the body in better overall physical condition so that it is stronger and less prone to tumbling.
- Add Traction: Slippery surfaces often lead to slips and falls. Installing rubberized mats, or making sure that socks and slippers have traction grips on the bottom can help reduce the chances of slipping.
While falls are indeed a real risk for seniors, it is important to always keep in mind that falls do not have to be an inevitable aspect of being older. While seniors are at a greater risk of falling, arrangements can be made that work to minimize that risk as much as possible. Keeping aware of possible dangers, risk factors, and vulnerabilities, and taking the required steps to attend to both the environment and seniors’ state of health can help keep seniors feeling safer and more at ease within their homes as they continue to live out their lives.