It has been recently reported that around half of all hospital admissions for the elderly are due to falls. 5% of those individuals will suffer from a fracture as a result of the fall. But, should falls really be considered an inevitable part of ageing?
We are more likely to fall as we age as our bodies are ever-changing. For example, we lose 30% of our muscle mass between the ages of 50 and 70. This loss of muscle density can lead to slower reaction times, loss of balance and much slower recovery times.
Whilst many falls can’t be avoided, we’ve compiled a list of some handy tips to be mindful of in your home to try to prevent a fall as much as possible. We’ve also included some items to consider using to help if you do find yourself in this situation.
Tips for preventing falls in the home:
If you regularly visit the toilet at night, make sure you avoid a potential tripping situation. This can be done by keeping a torch by your bed or keeping a light on. A nightlight may be a handy addition to help light up dim hallways and walkways. Some simply slot directly into a power socket and take up very little space. You can also get timers that plug in to the socket, which can be handy to make sure the light is on and off at the appropriate times.
Clutter in hallways and on stairs can be a real tripping hazard. Clear all of these from walkways and ensure any mats or rugs that are laid have an adequate non-slip backing. Make sure the edges are not crumpled or sticking up, as you can easily catch your foot, and trip.
If you have a dog or cat there is a good chance you have been startled by your beloved pet suddenly being by your feet as you go to walk. Putting a bell on the collar or changing it to something brightly coloured can help you spot them.
If you wear slippers around your home, consider whether it may be time to change them. We all love the comfort of slippers that have been worn in. However ill-fitting or very worn shoes can be a real tripping hazard. If you feel a change of footwear is due, consider a sole that is thin enough to ‘interpret’ the surface you are walking on. It should still be thick enough to provide adequate shock absorption.
Tips for preventing falls in the garden:
The keen gardeners among you, or those who enjoy sitting outside a lot, should definitely inspect the garden as well as inside the home. It is worth looking at whether the paths and walkways around your home are uneven. If you have cracked or broken paving slabs it is worth getting these replaced to make the ground more even. Railings can be a great addition to ensure you keep balanced and are supported whilst walking. Grab rails can be used inside the home too.
Things to consider having around in case of a fall:
Items such as blankets and pillows that can be strategically placed at low levels around the home can be incredibly useful if you find yourself unable to get up following a fall. We lose body heat quickly when not moving so these can be used to keep you warm and comfortable whilst waiting for assistance after pressing your pendant alarm. Items of clothing can be rolled up and placed under the head to support if cushions are out of reach. Keeping bottles of water at lower levels around the property can also be vital for keeping you hydrated whilst waiting for assistance.
How to get help if you have fallen:
Whilst having a mobile phone may be an alienating prospect for some, having a very basic phone on you that can make and receive calls can be a huge reassurance in case of falls. Ask someone around you to add a couple of contacts to the ‘speed-dial’ function and you will be able to contact those people quickly and easily to alert them of your situation. As part of our emergency alarm response we would always try your mobile if we couldn’t hear you over the base unit. We would be able to contact you to ascertain the situation quickly regardless of wherever you are in your property.
If you do not have a pendant alarm or a mobile phone on you, you can try and alert others around you by banging on walls. You can also try banging on the floors and radiators although please be cautious when doing this. Our pendant alarms have great range to cover the entire home. A simple press of the pendant would be all that is needed to notify us you have fallen. We then quickly make sure someone responds to you as quickly as possible.
The Careline Alarm Service
If your loved one would benefit from extra security at home, a personal alarm is a great idea. If you have any questions about our service, please get in touch. Our Customer Service Team can be reached on 0800 101 3333 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 13th September 2021 to reflect current information.