Fall Prevention Are You at Risk

The Reality of Fall Risks

As one is faced with the onset of aging most individuals over the age of 65 would most likely have a very similar definition of aging successfully. One of the first things on their list would probably be avoiding the need for hospital care, rehabilitation, short-term or long-term care or institutional living. The research has shown that older adults who are admitted to the hospital, with an injury, 60% of those injuries are statistically fall related. Their average length of stay in the hospital, due to falls, is 10 days with a larger percentage staying in ICU, causing a significant use of the healthcare resources. Shockingly, patients who sustained an injury from a fall were more likely to die than those individuals in the same target age group who were injured from a car accident. After the older adult leaves the hospital chances are that, 1 out of every two discharges will be to a higher level of care and not back to independent living. Falls also have been shown to increase with age along with complications related to the falls.

Risk Factors Associated with Falls

  • Medication Side Effects
  • Vision and Hearing Impairments
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteady Gait (walking/balance challenges)
  • Anemia (low iron levels)
  • Unstable Health Conditions
  • Terminal Illness
  • Memory loss or Confusion
  • Pain
  • Hyper/Hypoglycemia (high or low blood sugars)

Some Suggestions to Prevent a Fall

  • Ask your Doctor for an order to receive Home Health Care (Medicare B Coverage) they can provide a Physical and or Occupational Therapist in the home to help you exercise and develop strength and balance recovery techniques
  • Get an Education on appropriate assistive devices that are available and the proper uses of these devices from your health care provider or a Physical Therapist via Out Patient Rehabilitation Centers or Home Health Care
  • Do you have the appropriate footwear, sometimes comfort can result in risk. You need the right size, height and slip protection. As we age our bodies change alone with our feet, see a foot wear specialist, sometime the service and the shoes are covered by Medicare
  • Find some form of exercise that you enjoy and get out and move. It is important to maintain good muscle tone to reduce the normal process or sarcopenia
  • Take time for a needed rest, take your time when completing tasks and try not to hurry
  • Keep objects within reach so you aren’t leaning over to far and lose your balance
  • Keep eye glasses clean and in good repair that also applies to hearing aids. Check the batteries often and have a backup battery at all times
  • Make sure you have appropriate lighting and that the light is bright enough. Motion sensor nights light are great for lighting the way in the evening hours when getting up to use the restroom.
  • Ask your physician to review your medication schedule and ask them to go over the side effects with you so you are more prepared
  • If you have low blood pressure make sure to rise from a seated location slowly to allow for your blood pressure to regulate
  • Consider going to an Ears Nose Throat specialist or a Neurologist if you are having challenges with dizziness, it could be a condition that is treatable
  • Keep a blood pressure cuff and measure your blood pressure sitting, standing and lying down
  • Ask you physician to evaluate your food choice to obtain their feedback or suggestions

Stay Safe

These are just a few pointers on how to potential avoid the risks of falls. Physical Functioning and fall risk goes under diagnosed in the older adult population; most believe it is part of the normal aging process. Structured exercises, education, physical therapy done with individuals, with or without physical limitations, and have been scientifically proven to improve physical wellbeing and reduce the risk of falls. Movement, strength building, balance challenge, range of motion; lever lengthening, and stretching program easily tailored to be useful for helping you reach your maximum overall wellbeing, encompassing the mind body and spirit. Stay Safe.

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