A fall typically has a much more serious effect on older people due to ageing bones and body weakness. If you believe that a loved one has an increased risk of a falling, learn the preventative measures that may reduce the risk as well as what to do in the event of a fall.
Statistics illustrate that falls are common incidents for the elderly. According to NHS.uk, 1 in 3 over 65-year-olds living at home will have a minimum of one fall per year. The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) shows that there were roughly 220,160 emergency fall-related hospital admissions among patients aged 65 and over in the 2017 to 2018 period.
At Better Healthcare Service, we understand your concern for your loved one’s health and wellbeing. Our compassionate care workers support the vulnerable elderly in their homes to help them avoid facing such incidents. While several factors contribute to the risk of falls, there are also methods that can be employed to reduce the risk.
In this article, we outline:
- The causes and implications of a fall
- Preventative methods for you to follow to ensure the safety of those at risk
- What to do if your loved has fallen at home
If you would like to know more about how we can help, call us on 0800 668 1234. Or get in touch with your local Better Healthcare Services office.
Causes of falling at home and its implications
Causes of falling
Numerous factors contribute to the risk of falls at home for the senior population. Older people are more likely to experience a fall due to:
- Poor vision – this increases the chances of tripping or slipping on something on the floor
- Muscle weakness and balance issues
- Long-term health problems – for instance, low blood pressure can lead to dizziness and sometimes, a momentary loss of consciousness. On the other hand, some risk factors are changeable such as wet or recently polished floors, dim lighting in a room and non-secured rugs or mats. Simple changes around the home can mitigate these risk factors.
Implications of falling
Everyone has fallen over at some point in their life, and often, it’s a simple case of just getting back up again without injury. However, for some senior adults, the implications of falling can be more severe. Fall-related injuries include:
- Broken bones: Bone density declines as people age, especially in women after menopause. As a result, senior adults are more likely to suffer from broken bones after a fall.
- Hip injuries: According to Yorkshire Care Equipment, hip injuries are one of the most common injuries resulting from a fall. Approximately 50% of people who suffer a hip injury struggle to live independently again. You can learn more about the treatment and recovery processes of hip injuries here.
- Head/ brain injuries: Fall-related head injuries are serious as they could lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially if the person is taking certain medicines such as blood thinners. If you’re loved one has suffered a brain injury, read ‘What to expect after a traumatic brain injury’ for more information on the matter.
- Loss of confidence: Suffering a fall can also affect one’s confidence and make one less active due to fear of a repeat of the incident. This may also lead to increased isolation, which, in turn, may negatively affect their physical and mental health. The loss of confidence may also lead to the person prematurely entering a care home when, with the right support, they could’ve continued an independent life at home.
The danger of falls should not be overlooked. While it’s crucial to know what to do if someone falls, it’s better if the risk of falling could be mitigated.
What can you do to prevent falls at home?
Falls are often a combination of various risk factors. Luckily, it is possible to reduce the risk with the following simple changes:
- Keep rooms clean and decluttered: Reduced mobility and impaired eyesight will make many things in the house a tripping hazard. Cables and objects like shoes or clothes can be hazardous if they’re in the way, and rugs can be slippery. Consider investing in anti-slip mats and keep tripping hazardous away from walking spaces.
- Home safety evaluation: Utilise anti-slip mats, add grab bars beside your toilet and bathtub or shower and put railings on both sides of your stairs. As poor vision is a risk factor, make sure rooms have a lot of light so your senior loved one can see better.
- Don’t rush: Taking the time to move about the home can reduce the risk of falls, particularly when it comes to walking up or down the stairs. At night, take extra care in the dark and keep a torch by the bed.
- Get help with challenging tasks: Whether it’s reaching for a high shelf or stepping out of a bathtub, things that were previously easy to do may become more strenuous with age. Trying to do too much can cause an accident, so those who are at risk of injury from a fall should consider getting help around the house. Our live-in care and home care workers are more than able to help.
- Regularly perform balance and strength exercises: Exercise is a great way of maintaining good physical health and balance. Going for walks is a good place to start. Supervised activities like dancing, swimming and even Tai Chi may also be beneficial to your strength and balance. Those who are less mobile should ask their GP for advice on home exercises.
- Check the side effects of prescriptions: Many medications can cause drowsiness or dizziness, so always be aware of potential side effects. Make your doctor aware of your situation and perhaps you may be prescribed an alternative medication that doesn’t make you dizzy or sleepy.
- Vision check: It’s essential to have your vision regularly checked by an optician to ensure you have suitable eyewear as eye problems are common with age.
What should you do if your loved one falls?
It can be quite overwhelming and stressful to find a loved one injured from a fall, but it’s vital that you remain calm. It’s also important that you keep the injured person calm. Find out if they are strong enough to stand on their own; if they can, make sure they get up slowly.
The best way for a person to get back on their feet is to get on to their hands and knees first. Encourage them to use a nearby stable piece of furniture – such as a chair or bed – as support as they get back on their feet. Once they’re up, encourage them to sit down and rest in a comfortable position for as long as they need. Dial 999 for emergency services if you are concerned about their wellbeing.
In the situation where the senior person is unable to get up, call the emergency services immediately. It’s important that they stay warm; a blanket or dressing gown are suitable items and should cover the legs and feet. Try not to lift them yourselves as that is dangerous for both you and your injured loved one.
The NHS.uk website has further information on what to do after an accident.
If your senior loved one suffers a fall while no one is around to help, there are a few useful devices that may help.
- Alarm System: There are many alarm systems designed to send a signal for help in the event of a fall. PPP Taking Care offers a personal alarm service that includes a wristband or necklace that allows users to alert a 24-hour emergency response centre for help in the event of a fall; the service centre then informs your chosen contacts or emergency services depending on the situation.
- Raizer Falls Emergency Lifting Chair: The Raizer chair is a lifting device that’s designed to help someone who has fallen, get back on his or her feet in under a minute. This piece of equipment is ideal for use as just one person can easily assemble it.
Getting home assistance after a fall
If a previous fall resulted in a serious injury that has left you temporarily or permanently dependant, contact Better Healthcare Services. Our carers can make visits to your home to carry out everyday tasks and make sure everything is in order. We can help to prevent falls by assisting with tasks like:
- Personal care
- Washing and dressing
- Meal preparation and cooking
- Light housework
- Outings and walks
To get post-fall assistance from people who are passionate about the work they do, call Better Healthcare Services today on 0800 668 1234. Alternatively, get in touch with your local office directly: