The Fallout From A Fall – 4 Tips To Prevent Elderly Injuries

//The Fallout From A Fall – 4 Tips To Prevent Elderly Injuries

The Fallout From A Fall – 4 Tips To Prevent Elderly Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than one out of four elderly people fall every year. Falling once increases an elderly person’s chance of falling again. Further, one out of five falls results in head injury or broken bones. For those with an elderly family member living alone, this can mean a potentially fatal accident without anyone even knowing. ​

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than one out of four elderly people fall every year. Falling once increases an elderly person’s chance of falling again. Further, one out of five falls results in head injury or broken bones. For those with an elderly family member living alone, this can mean a potentially fatal accident without anyone even knowing.

What Can Happen From A Fall

Because adults 65 and older have lower bone density and are more fragile, falls can lead to anything from a simple bruise to bone fractures. It’s common for elderly adults to fracture their wrists, arms, ankles or hips. It’s also common for senior citizens to hit their heads while falling, resulting in injury. Remember: it is imperative to visit the doctor with any injury, even if they do not seem to have hit their head.

Some elderly people may not tell anyone about their fall because of fear of being hospitalized, medicated or receiving restrictions on physical activity. They may reduce their physical activity out of fear of falling again.

The likelihood of subsequent falls can also make their family and loved ones uneasy about independent living options.

What Causes Elderly People To Fall More Often

A fall happens because of a challenge to balance and/or strength. Older adults are more likely to fall due to health-based risks like balance problems, weakness, illnesses or vision problems. Another factor is environmental risks such as objects or loose rugs, icy sidewalks or high heels. The third factor that can cause elderly people to fall are triggers, like a dog pulling a leash.

Predicting The Likelihood Of A Fall

The CDC offers practitioners and families of senior citizens a program called Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries [STEADI] to use in predicting and preventing falls. Their simple questionnaire can help determine your risk for falling.

STEADI’s at-home assessment can further determine the likelihood of a fall. It consists of the following four tests:

30-Second Chair Test:
Using a straight-backed chair without armrests, cross your arms in front of your body. Start a timer for 30 seconds. Within that time frame, see how many times you can stand from the chair without becoming unbalanced or using your arms. Have someone standing nearby for safety.

4 Stage Balance Test:
This test includes four positions that should be held for ten seconds each. If the first (or any subsequent) position cannot be held, end the test.

The Timed Up-and-Go [TUG] Test:
Sit in a chair and when the test facilitator says “go,” stand up from the chair, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back to the chair and sit down. Taking longer than 12 seconds to complete the test indicates a higher risk of falling.

Measuring Orthostatic Blood Pressure:
​The patient should lay down for five minutes. Record blood pressure and pulse rate. Stand up and record blood pressure and pulse rate again. Repeat these measurements one minute after standing and again at three minutes. A drop in blood pressure or a feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness is considered abnormal.

Creating A Safe Environment For Those At Risk

Knowing the likelihood of a fall can help with planning and creating an environment that will help prevent falls. Additionally, installing a fall detection alert system in the home is key to a rapid response in case of an emergency. At Next Monitoring, we provide wearable technology that will alert assistance to caregivers and loved ones.

Four Tips To Prevent Injuries From Falling (Courtesy of the CDC):

1. Speak to your doctor about the fall.
2. Incorporate an exercise program to strengthen your body.
3. Get an annual eye exam.
4. Make your home safer by removing clutter and tripping hazards, such as rugs.
5. Install a monitoring system that offers immediate assistance for falls. ​

While we can’t completely prevent falls, we can protect our loved ones by proactively planning for those who may be more susceptible to falls, and by having an action plan in place in the unfortunate event of a fall.

Article ​by Jessica McWhirt, Freelance Writer

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2018-05-18T13:01:36+00:00