Fall Prevention and measures

 Facts

  • About one third of the elder population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually.
  • Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again.
  • About half (53%) of the older adults who are discharged for fall-related hip fractures will experience another fall within six months.
  • 20% to 30% of seniors fear falling.
  • 90% percent of falls that do not result in injury can still have a detrimental impact on health and well-being. 30-50% of elders report that fear of another fall results in loss of confidence and self-imposed restriction of activities, thereby increasing the risk of falls.

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  • In older adults, the incidence of falls increases steadily with advancing age.
  • Chronic medical conditions associated with falls: cognitive impairment and arthritis (more common in older adults)
  • Physiologic changes of normal aging might also increase the risk of falls.
  • Influencing factors whether a fracture occurs; the fall descent, fall impact, and bone strength.

Berry et al. 2008 

Factors & prevention

Osteoporosis

  • consume sufficient calcium – broccoli, soybeans, almonds
  • Get sufficient Vitamin D – sunlight, supplements
  • Weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis

Lack of physical activity

  • Stay active at least every other day for 15 minutes – walking, swimming etc.
    • If you need help with that contact you physiotherapist to ensure you have a safe and adjusted exercise routine!
  • Wear good footwear
  • Move safely – take your time, position yourself

Impaired Vision

  • Get your eyes checked regularly
  • Highlight your aids (handrails etc.) and stairs at home
  • Keep your glasses clean!

Medications

  • Know all common side-effects
  • Ask physician/pharmacist about risk of falls
  • Avoid consuming alcohol with medication

Environment

  • Repair cracks and abrupt edges
  • Install handrails on stairs and steps and grab bars in bathrooms
  • Keep the floor clear of clutter, rocks and tools
  • Use highlighting for changes in surface or level
  • Sufficient lighting – bedlights, nightlights, motion-sensitive lighting
  • Anti-slip mats – bathtubs, shower rooms, tile floors
  • Bath-shower seats
  • Keep commonly used items within easy reach
  • Use a stable step stool
  • Make sure bed, chairs and couches are easy to get in and out (not too low)

Always have a phone nearby, install electronic emergency response systems (emergency watch, etc.)

For healthcare professionals

Falls efficacy scale – to measure Fear of falling

Berg Balance Scale – to assess balance

Timed up and go test - Assesses mobility, balance, walking ability, and fall risk in older adults

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