Everyone has experienced falling at some point in their lives. As we grow older, the consequences of falling increase significantly. This is because the older we get, the more frail and delicate our bones become. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths world wide, and people over the age of 60 suffer the highest number of fatal falls. As well, Health Canada states that over one third of fall-related hospitalizations among seniors are associated with a hip fracture.
Although falls cannot be completely eliminated, the severity of impact can be minimized.
What is a Fall Prevention Plan?
A fall prevention plan aims to reduce the risk of falls by assessing your specific fall risks and preparing accordingly.
When considering a plan, it is important to know what possible dangers apply to you. Falls happen when we are unable to maintain our balance.
The three main factors that affect balance are:
- Physical Mobility
- Medical Concerns
- Home Safety
Healthcare Solutions carries a wide variety of products to help you create your fall prevention plan and stay independent.
Staying Active for Balance
Staying active is a key component to preventing falls. Physical activity helps keep your body alert while increasing strength and balance. Exercise balls provide a full body workout that engages the core while developing balance and coordination. Low impact activities like yoga can also help improve posture and stability.
Being active and balanced requires you to be on your feet and wearing the proper shoes can make a significant difference. Footwear with a durable sole and good traction helps increase stability, prevent slips, and should be worn at all times—both indoors and outdoors.
How Medical Side-Effects Influence Balance
Another common risk associated with falls are the side effects of medicine. Drowsiness or dizziness can affect your stability and vision. Using a reacher prevents you from bending down and helps to pick up items in a stable manner.
Medical conditions like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and arthritis can also cause weakness and poor balance. It is important to address your symptoms if you are experiencing these side-effects and use supportive products to help maintain your balance.
The Importance of Home Safety
If a serious fall does occur you need to be able to contact someone for help, especially if you live alone. Using an emergency communicator or having access to a phone at all times helps ensure that you can call for help if needed.
It is also important to ensure that your home is a safe environment. Keeping it clutter free and adding additional support where you feel it is needed will help protect you from preventable accidents. Assist poles can be installed in any area of your home to help you stay balanced, and for people who experience troubles with stairs, stair lifts can help you move throughout your home with minimal effort.
Products designed for specific areas of your home also exist in order to provide more targeted support.
Bathrooms are a high risk fall area. Products like bath benches, wall grab bars, and tub grab bars provide extra assistance by having something to hold on to when bathing. Detachable shower heads can be used in combination with bath chairs for more water control and limit the need to move around. Bath mats also help by providing extra traction when maneuvering on slippery surfaces. Raised toilet seats and toilet safety frames help improve bathroom safety by helping you sit and stand with confidence.
Falls in the bedroom tend to happen at night. Be sure to always have access to lighting and allow your eyes to adjust before moving around.
Another leading cause of falling can be due to the incorrect bed height. Lowering the height of your bed or purchasing an adjustable electric bed can help ensure both of your feet are flat on the ground for increased balance when standing up. Bed rails provide extra stability by having something to hold on to when getting in and out of bed and fall mats help provide additional safety by providing extra cushioning to reduce the risk of injury.
Many people tend to be quite active in their living rooms throughout the day. The Couch Cane helps provide additional support when getting up and down from your favorite chair. Using an Assist-A-Tray provides similar support with the added benefit of having a swivel tray to enjoy your meals or various other activities.
For people who need even more additional support, the Stand-N-Go provides support on both sides so you can stand up or sit down with confidence.
Lift chairs provide the ultimate assistance and comfort to suit all needs. These power recliners provide the convenience of standing without strain while complementing your home with their luxurious look.
Fall Protection Products on the Go
Whether you are indoors or outdoors, using supportive products on the go can help prevent accidents if you are at a risk of falling. Using a walking cane or walker can help provide you extra support when being active and reduces the risk of an accident. Wearing protective garments like hip protectors can also provide extra protection and lower the chance of injury in the event of a fall wherever you go. Conditions during the winter can be extremely dangerous to someone who is already at risk of falling. Using an ice grip attachment for your cane and Non-Slip Snow Grabbers for your shoes can help provide extra traction on icy surfaces.
Aging should not be associated with falling. Whether or not you have experienced a fall, it is important to understand the risks and plan accordingly. A wide range of products and resources are available to help you maintain an independent and comfortable lifestyle. Let the professionals at Healthcare Solutions help you and your loved ones stay balanced with fall prevention products.
This information is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Always consult your physician before making any healthcare decisions.