As we age, falls become an increasingly important health issue. A fall can result in a fracture, head injury, or reduced mobility. A fall can also have a psychological effect by leading to fear and anxiety, which can limit our activities and social interaction, impacting our quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths worldwide, with individuals aged 65 and above being the most vulnerable.
The role of fall prevention
Preventing falls is an essential component of promoting healthy ageing. By implementing preventive measures, we can minimize the risk of falls and enhance our overall wellbeing of. Falls prevention strategies involve a tiered approach that addresses physical, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Engaging in physical activities that improve balance, strength, and flexibility can significantly reduce the risk of falls. Exercise programs like Tai Chi and balance training have been shown to enhance stability and coordination among older adults.
Certain medications can cause dizziness or impair cognitive function, increasing the risk of falls. Regular medication reviews with healthcare professionals can help identify and address potential side effects.
Fall-proof your home:
Everyday items inside the house such as rugs, coffee tables, or uneven flooring and things outside the house such as garden hoses, pot plants or pet toys can be a trip hazard. Ask a family member, friend or carer to help you remove fall risks around the house.
Modifying the home environment to reduce hazards is crucial in falls prevention. This includes installing grab bars, improving lighting, or ramps, depending on your mobility needs.
Vision and hearing checks:
Regular vision and hearing assessments can identify issues that may contribute to falls. Corrective measures like glasses or hearing aids can improve sensory functions and reduce the likelihood of accidents.
A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can contribute to stronger bones and muscles, reducing the risk of fractures in the event of a fall.
Promoting healthy ageing is not just about extending life but enhancing our quality of life. Falls prevention plays a vital role in achieving this goal by safeguarding us from injuries, promoting independence, and fostering social engagement. Being mindful of a falls prevention program that includes regular exercise, home modifications, medication management, and healthcare check-ups can significantly improve our overall wellbeing. By raising awareness about falls prevention and taking proactive steps, we can ensure that we all lead fulfilling and active lives as we age gracefully.
If you need help assessing your home for ways you can reduce the risk of a fall, speak to your Care Partner. They can review your care plan and refer you to a clinician who is qualified to address your risks.
If you live alone or have trouble getting up after a fall you might want to consider a falls pendant/personal alarm. This will ensure you can safely access help in the event of a fall.