Updated: Jan 12
Falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults, and can often lead to a decline in health and mobility. However, many things can be done to prevent falls. In this blog post, we will explore ways to help older adults stay safe and prevent falls in the home. From simple tips like decluttering and installing handrails, to more involved measures like fall-proofing the home, we will cover everything you need to know to help keep your loved ones safe from falls. You can also contact Mobile PhysioCare for more assistance in Home Physical Therapy in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Home Physical Therapy in Edgewater, New Jersey.
Causes of falls in older adults
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year and falling once doubles your chances of falling again. There are many reasons why people fall as they age. Some common causes include:
-Muscle weakness - As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength. This can make it harder to keep our balance and makes us more likely to trip or stumble. -Poor vision - Our eyesight naturally deteriorates as we age, making it more difficult to see obstacles in our path or gauge distances correctly. -Medications - Many medications, including over-the-counter drugs, can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or impaired coordination, which can lead to falls. -Inactivity - A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weak muscles and poor balance. -Hazardous home environment - Remove tripping hazards from your homes such as loose rugs, electrical cords, and uneven flooring surfaces.
Risks associated with falls
Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults. Each year, one in three adults aged 65 and over falls. Of these falls, 20 to 30 percent result in serious injuries such as fractures or head trauma. To prevent falls, it is important to identify the risks and make changes to reduce them. Older adults should exercise regularly to improve strength and balance. They should also check their eyes regularly and wear glasses or contacts if needed. The home should be clean and free of clutter, and floors should be kept dry and free of tripping hazards. Medications that cause drowsiness or dizziness should be taken with caution, and homes should be equipped with safety devices such as handrails on stairways and grab bars in the bathroom.
Steps to prevent falls at home
There are many things that older adults can do to prevent falls. Some simple tips include: 1. Make sure your home is well-lit, both inside and out. 2. Remove tripping hazards from your homes, such as loose rugs or electrical cords. 3. Use a nightlight in your bedroom and bathroom so you can see where you're going if you get up during the night. 4. Keep stairways clear of clutter and have handrails on both sides. 5. Wear shoes with good traction to help prevent slipping. Avoid walking barefoot or in socks only. 6. When outside, be aware of uneven surfaces and take extra care when walking on wet or icy sidewalks. Wear boots or other footwear with good traction in winter weather conditions.
What to do if you fall
If you fall, it is important to stay calm and not panic. Try to get yourself in a comfortable position, such as sitting or lying down, and wait for help to arrive. If you can get up, do so slowly and carefully. Use a sturdy object, such as a chair or table, for support if necessary. Once you are back on your feet, be sure to check for injuries and seek medical attention if needed.
Can physical therapy and exercises help in fall prevention?
Yes, physical therapy and exercises can help in fall prevention. These activities can help improve balance and coordination, while also increasing strength and flexibility. All of these things can help reduce your risk of falling. Especially Physical Therapy for Seniors can help a great deal in fall prevention.
Some exercises that reduce the risk of fall prevention include balance and strength training. Follow these simple exercises to help in fall prevention:
Starting on a comfortable chair, it is essential that you can easily sit up straight and rest your feet on the ground. Make sure that your chair has a surface that you can reach for support, such as a countertop, in case you start to feel unsteady when standing. Scoot forward so that the front of your buttocks is against the back of the chair.
Lean your chest forward and balance on your toes. Then start by shifting your weight forward and squeezing your gluteal muscles. Slowly rise to a standing position.
Slowly sit down and then stand back up. Repeat 10 times.
If you need help standing or sitting, place your hands on the arms or seat of the chair and use your upper body to get up. The goal is not to use your hands for assistance unless necessary.
Follow each step 10 times and try to perform this simple exercise twice a day. If you experience any pain then please consult your physical therapist or doctor.
These exercises can help you improve your balance if it's unsteady. Make sure to have a friend or relative in the room with you if you lose your balance.
Feet apart: Stand with your feet about shoulder-wide apart. Keep your eyes open, then hold still for 10 seconds. You can steadily work your way up to 30 seconds. As you work on this exercise, don't give up if you sway or need to hold on to something for stability. Keep working at it and the swaying will decrease. When you can hold the position steadily for 30 seconds, move on to the next exercise.
Feet together: With feet together and looking straight ahead, stand still and hold steady for 10 seconds. You can steadily work your way up to 30 seconds. Keep working at it and the swaying will decrease. When you can hold the position steadily for 30 seconds, move on to the next exercise.
Tandem Stance: Stand with one foot in front of you like you are stepping forward and balance for 10 seconds and work your way up to 30 seconds. As this exercise becomes easier to perform try to move both feet in one line touching the toes of one foot to the heel of the other. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly work your way up to 30 seconds.
One foot: Standing on one foot, keep your eyes open, and balance for 10 seconds. Once that is easy enough then, work your way up to 30 seconds per leg.
Eyes closed: If you can perform exercises 1-3 with very little assistance, try to do each one with your eyes closed. Hold for 10 seconds and work your way up to 30 seconds.
The goal of these exercises is to hold your position for 10 seconds then work your way up to 30 seconds. Repeat each set at least five times and try to do the exercise twice a day.
By following these tips you can help reduce the risk of fall prevention. You can also call for Private Home Physical Therapy sessions and get Physical Therapy done at Home.