As many as three adults over the age of 65 have a serious fall every year, and around 70% of those fear falling again, according to health and care technology experts telmenow.com.
When someone takes a nasty fall it can have a huge psychological impact, as well as a physical one, but there are steps you can take to restore the confidence of your residents and reduce the risk of them falling again.
Chief executive of telmenow.com Norman Niven has a wealth of advice for people looking at ways to help make a difference.
Norman says it is important for family, friends, or carers to take the time to have a good look around and to remove any obstacles that could be a trip hazard. These can include cords or wires, bags or boxes, loose clothing or footwear, pet toys, beds, or furniture that might be blocking walkways.
Clear the floor by getting rid of loose rugs or carpets. If a door catches on a carpet don’t ignore it, fix it, lay alternative flooring or mats on surfaces which are slippery or which may get wet, e.g. bathrooms and if there are any missing or broken tiles in the house, replace them.
Visibility is a major issue when it comes to trips. As you grow older your eyesight deteriorates so first thing’s first, make sure your prescription is up to date. Once your glasses are in order take other preventative measures like making sure lighting is always accessible. Examples of this include, ensuring you have a bedside lamp, light switches are at both the top and bottom of the stairs and keep battery powered torches within reach in case of a power outage.
These days there is an abundance of lighting solutions but one we at telmenow.com think is particularly intelligent is a sensory light. You can buy lights to line your hallway that will turn on when they detect movement. That way, if you get up in the middle of the night wanting to use the toilet, the light will guide you.
Grab rails should be installed all around the home. These should go all the way up the stairs to help you or your loved one make it up without falling; in the bathroom as something to grab on to if the floor is slippery or to help you out of the bath; and near any chairs or furniture which is used regularly so you can easily help yourself up.
For that additional peace of mind, alarm systems can be put in place to send an alert if you or your loved one has fallen. By simply pressing a pendant which is kept on the body at all times or a button on the alarm pad, family members, carers or a professional monitoring company can be alerted if it is triggered.
The fear of falling can be dangerous and lead to more accidents and additional steps on top of adapting your home can also be taken. Many people reduce their activity levels believing it will lower their risk of a fall when in fact it may make them more likely to tumble again. Inactivity leads to muscle weakness which increases the chance of falling once more. Strength and balance exercises can help reduce this risk and gyms often offer programmes for older people, which can also be great for socialising.
By making yourself aware of the dangers lurking in the home and taking preventative action, you can help people feel safe again, and finally stop worrying about a dreaded fall.