A fall may be a warning sign of declining health. It is not normal to fall even as our body ages. Falls can lead to injury, hospitalisation and death. They are also a major cause of disability and institutionalisation. As such, preventing falls is vital to remain healthy and independent.
Here are six tips to prevent falls, click to find out more about each tip.
Eyesight changes with age. Poor vision may increase the risk of falling as you may have difficulty navigating uneven ground, and fail to spot nearby hazards and obstacles. The effects of poor vision can be reduced with the following tips:
Check your eyesight regularly
The shape of our feet changes as we get older, impairing balance and the way we walk. Pain and foot swelling can also make it difficult to walk. Choosing the right footwear is essential to minimise the risk of dangerous falls.
Here are some tips for choosing shoes that are suitable for the elderly:
When buying shoes, look out for the following:
Check that clothing (pants, dresses and long skirts) end above the ankle to avoid tripping.
Sit down rather than stand when putting on your shoes or dressing.
If you have painful and swollen feet, or experience numbness and tingling sensations in your feet, see a doctor or podiatrist.
60% of falls happen at home. In order to continue to live safely and independently, our homes have to ‘grow’ with us. The environment in your home can also be modified to reduce the risk of falling.
Install a night light so that you do not walk in the dark at night.
Ensure there is good lighting over table tops and other work areas. Have sufficient, non-glaring lighting over the counter top and stove, especially when food is being sliced or cut.
Keep the floor clean and dry
Ensure easy access to frequently used items
You may wish to consult an occupational therapist for professional advice on suitable home modification and equipment.
We lose muscle strength and our sense of balance as we age. Staying active helps strengthen our muscles and maintain balance, reducing our risk of falls.
For a start, incorporate more movement into your daily routine. Improve your endurance and energy levels by going for regular walks at a comfortable pace for at least 180 minutes every week. If that seems too overwhelming, try to remain active with day to day activities such as housework or gardening.
Look for a fitness program catered to seniors that includes resistance and balance exercises. Activities such as Tai Chi has been shown to reduce the risk of falls in older adults. Other activities such as dancing, yoga and gym sessions can also improve strength and balance.
It is important to pace yourself. You do not have to do all the activities in one session. Instead, you can have active sessions throughout your day in 10 to 15 minute windows.
Do remember to wear proper attire and keep yourself hydrated when exercising. You can consult your doctor if you are unsure on what activities suit your lifestyle. Age should not be a barrier to exercising. If in doubt, you can talk to your doctor.
No Falls Video Resources
Postural hypotension is a drop in blood pressure which occurs when rising from a sitting to standing position. This may make you feel giddy, light-headed or faint, which can result in falls. Other symptom of postural hypotension include headaches, blurring of vision, nausea, weakness and fatigue when standing.
Here are some tips to reduce these symptoms:
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak and prone to fractures. This condition is also more common in the elderly. Osteoporotic fractures can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility and loss of independence. Treating osteoporosis can reduce the risk of sustaining an osteoporotic fracture should you fall.
Osteoporosis is diagnosed through a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test. This test is recommended if you:
If you have osteoporosis or if you have had a fracture after a minor fall, you should also be considered for osteoporosis treatment. Discuss the different treatments options with your doctor.
Some other ways to improve your bone strength include:
Not sure of your fall risk? Seek help with Changi General Hospital’s Fall Assessment Clinic. The holistic healthcare team of nurses, physiotherapists, doctors and occupational therapists can help to assess your fall risk and on what precautions to take.
To make an appointment, please ask a doctor to refer you through the
CGH Appointment Centre: 6850 3333.
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