We share some simple steps to take to avoid falls and their consequences.
Thankfully most falls don’t result in serious injury; however, there is always a risk that a fall could lead to broken or sprained bones, a head injury or worse. In South Australia, 38 older people are admitted to the hospital every day with injuries due to a fall.
Small changes can avoid big falls, so let’s be proactive in doing as much as we can to avoid falls and their consequences.
Here are some simple steps to take:
- use non-slip mats (particularly in the bathroom)
- mop up spills to avoid wet, slippery floors
- organise your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are minimised
- get help lifting or moving items that are heavy or difficult to lift
- remove anything you could trip on (Clutter, frayed carpet and electrical cords)
- Ensure that all areas of the home are well lit
- Have your eyes checked every year
- Wear well-fitting shoes that are in good condition
- If you have a walking aid, use it.
- Take care to avoid steps, stairs and ladders
- Don’t stand on furniture to reach something
- Keep footpaths around your home clear and fix any uneven pavers
- Wear your hearing aid so you can hear oncoming traffic
- Install a grab rail if required
Pick up a ‘Standing on Solid Ground. Simple ways to stay on your feet and prevent falls’ booklet from our libraries and community centres (eg JYC or Para Hills Community Hub).
Staying physically active is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of having a fall. The more active we are the stronger our muscles remain and the less chance of having a fall. Research has shown that older people who take part in regular strength and balance training are less likely to have a fall.
Why not join a Tai Chi or low-level exercise class at our centres or a COTA ‘Strength for Life’ program which is run in many local gyms. You can discuss your options with your local Over 50’s centre staff or call (08) 8406 8525.
Exercise programs that can be carried out at home are also available. Active Ageing Australia has an ‘Active for Living’ Exercise DVD and other resources available. Find out more by calling (08) 8423 0960 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org