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Fall Prevention Series – Part 3 – What to do After a Fall

Fall Prevention Series – Part 3 – What to do After a Fall

The previous two editions of our ‘Fall Prevention’ series addressed the common environmental, biological, and lifestyle elements that contribute to the risk of falls.   Even with the best prevention strategies, falls can still occur, and it is important for us to know just what to do when a fall happens. After a fall – If you can get up – how to get to a safe and comfortable position: Do not try to stand up if you are injured and/or feeling dizzy. If anyone is close enough to assist you, call out for their help. Take a moment to catch your breath, get your bearings, and recover if you were feeling light-headed. If no one else is around to assist, and you are able to, gently roll to your side – leading first with your head, then shoulders, torso, and legs. Rest if necessary. Slowly get up on all fours. Once you have your balance, gently crawl to a sturdy piece of furniture such as a sofa or heavy chair. Place your arms on the piece of furniture and grip firmly. While steadying yourself with your arms on the furniture, place your strongest foot flat on the floor, and with the other leg in the bent position, slowly lift yourself onto the chair or sofa. Once you are able to move, and even if you feel fine, get to a phone and call a caregiver or family member. It is important to make sure that someone is with you and you are ultimately checked out by a health practitioner for any injuries you may not be aware of. After...
Fall Prevention – Personal Risk Prevention

Fall Prevention – Personal Risk Prevention

In the previous Maturity Matters Newsletter, we discussed how to reduce the potential of a fall by attending to the environmental risk factors looming inside and outside of your home. In this edition, we will introduce the biological influences and lifestyle changes you can make to remain safe in later years. While the impact and consequences of falls are significant – it is important to realize that falls are not inevitable! There is much we can do to mitigate the risks and add to our longevity and well-being. Biological Factors These refer to factors relating to overall aging, as well as the effects of chronic conditions, acute health challenges, medications and their interactions, end of life issues, and gender differences. TIPS • Review your medications and supplements with your health practitioner on a regular basis. • Consult with your health practitioner to manage conditions that could cause dizziness. • Manage your blood pressure and pay attention to the potential for postural hypotension that can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up and transferring. • Have your eyes and hearing tested annually. • Visit a podiatrist to keep your feet in good condition. • Make sure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium. • Work with a rehabilitation therapist to address balance and gait problems. • Use proper mobility aids such as walkers and canes, and keep them in good working conditions. Lifestyle Factors The good news is that the lifestyle factors are those actions that exist within your control! TIPS • Keep as active as you can! • Exercise (home or group programs)...
Fall Prevention-Environmental Risks

Fall Prevention-Environmental Risks

“I’m still falling for you,” she joked, shortly after stumbling and tumbling to the ground while leaning over to kiss her husband of 60 years. We can appreciate her quick sense of humour – however, the serious reality is that falls are a major cause of injury and death for seniors. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, one out of 5 falls results in broken bones or head injury. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. The various risk factors can be categorized into socioeconomic, behavioral, biological and environmental risk factors. They are complicated and often inter-related. For instance, some medication interactions may make an individual more vulnerable to environmental risk factors that could be present. This article will focus on only one of the risk categories, the more common environmental risk factors that can be readily identified and addressed. Below are some tips to make your interior and exterior areas just that much safer. Home Environment Clear all passage ways!  Reduce clutter and make sure walk ways are clear and well lit.  Decorative plant stands or tables should be moved away from all traffic areas. Remove mats that cannot be firmly secured to the floor. For those mats that are secured to the floor, check regularly to ensure that edges and corners are not lifting or curling. Check carpets for wear, ripples, or worn threads. Make sure all electrical cords are tucked away from any traffic or common passage areas.   Hand rails and grab bars.  Stairs should have hand rails...