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Fall Prevention

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​​​Preventing Risks of Falling

Why are older people more prone to falls, and to suffer injuries linked to them? Read on to find out how to prevent ​falls among seniors.


​​​​​​​​​Risks of Falls

As people age, their risk of falling increases. This is because their vision, sense of balance, coordination and muscles get weaker. These contribute to a slower reaction time when they lose their balance. Certain medical conditions increase the risk of falls as well, such as cataracts, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, dementia, and osteoarthritis.

Falls can cause pain and injuries such as bone fractures and head injuries, affecting the person’s ability to perform daily activities. In severe cases, it can result in disability, loss of independence and death. It is important to understand the risks and learn what can be done to reduce them.

​​​​​​​​​Keep Your Home Safe and Neat and Use Assistive Devices When Necessary

Most falls happen at home. Here are simple tips to reduce the risk of falling:

Activities of daily living for your Loved One

  • Buy proper eyewear for clearer vision
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes at home to prevent slips and falls
  • Use walking aids if necessary
  • Ensure regular check-ups and take medication as prescribed
  • Be aware of the side-effects of the medication prescribed
  • Ensure that spills are cleaned at once

In the Living Room

  • Ensure wires and cords are untangled and kept safely
  • Arrange your furniture so that it is easy and safe for your loved one to move around the area

On the Stairways

  • Don't leave things ly​ing around the stairway
  • Ensure there is good lighting
  • Install handrails on either or both sides of the stairs if possible

In the Bedroom

  • Place light switches within reach
  • Install night lights between bathroom and bedroom
  • Get out of bed slowly to avoid dizziness

In the Bathroom

  • Install grab rails on walls beside the toilet
  • Use non-skid mats
  • Consider using a shower chair and portable shower head

In the Kitchen

  • Use a stool if your loved one needs to reach a high shelf
  • Move commonly used items to a lower shelf for an easier reach
  • Ensure that wires and cords are safely tucked away

​​​​​​​​​Check with Your Doctor

Although falls are more common among older people, they should not be accepted as a normal part of ageing. A single fall can cause serious injuries. It is important that you consult a doctor if your loved one fell once, so that a proper fall risk assessment can be carried out. The doctor will:

  • Review your loved one’s history of falls
  • Review his/ her medication
  • Evaluate his/ her gait (that is, the way they walk) and sense of balance
  • Test your loved one’s vision
  • Determine the status of your loved one’s cardiovascular health, including heart rate, heart rhythm and blood pressure
  • Review his/ her need to use walking aids, such as canes and walkers
  • Refer him/ her to a physiotherapist for training and balancing

Do consider regular follow-up consultations with the doctor. This will help you to manage and detect any new risk factors for falls earlier. It is also necessary to keep track of any deterioration in your loved one’s health that may require changes or modifications to your environment.

If your loved one is starting to get more frail, it would be useful to ask the doctor about completing an Advance Care Plan. This is another way to help you, your loved one, and the doctor to plan for future health needs. Learn on how to make your home environment safe by rearranging the furniture or declutter spaces so that your loved one can move about independently and comfortably. Using assistive devices can help or improve your loved one’s mobility in moving about safely at home.

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