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Preventing Falls in the Elderly

Many people only know to tell the elderly not to fall, and even blame the elderly for being careless after they fall. There are many reasons for the elderly to fall. 

Falls are the result of multiple risk factors. The primary reason is ageing. Decreased balance function and lower limb muscle strength due to aging are important factors leading to falls in the elderly. In addition to ageing, environmental and mental and psychological reasons, including too much furniture, complex environment, emotional agitation, misjudgment or improper reaction, etc. are also easy to cause slips and falls. One of the Best Care homes in the UK; we summarize some methods that can help reduce the risk of falls for the elderly.

Regular exercise to enhance the body balance

There is no ‘one best exercise’ for all elderly people. “Old age” covers 60 years old. So it is impossible to recommend a set of exercises suitable for all elderly people. Some elderly people who are healthy and have long-term exercise habits can even run marathons. Others may need more comfortable activities such as walking and gardening etc. If the elderly have leg inconvenience, consider exercising on a chair or bed. Regardless of age, exercise is to avoid standing still and maintain an active lifestyle. Encourage the elderly to choose their favorite sports. If possible, they can also combine a variety of sports to exercise physical strength, enhance strength and balance. Regular practice of gentle yoga is a way for the elderly to enhance the balance of the body, thus playing a role in preventing falls.

Prevent osteoporosis; Strengthen bones and joints

The elderly should pay attention to the prevention of osteoporosis, because this disease will significantly increase their risk of fracture after a fall. In order to prevent this bone disease, you must first ensure that you have enough calcium, and ideally through diet. If you cannot guarantee about 15 minutes of sunlight a day, you may need to take vitamin D. You can go to the hospital to test the bone density to screen for bone loss

Sensible use of drugs 

Most elderly people suffer from multiple diseases and may take multiple drugs at the same time. Family members should pay attention to the types of medications the elderly at home are using and instruct the elderly to take the medications correctly as prescribed by the doctor, and be aware that some medications may increase the risk of falling. Common drugs that increase the risk of falls are: antihypertensive drugs, antidepressants, hypnotics, and so on. Because of these risks, the elderly are strictly prohibited from taking drugs at will. When long-term medication is needed, please ask a geriatrician to reassess and minimize the number and dosage of medication.

Pay Attention to the Home Environment

The elderly most often have accidents at home. It is necessary to improve the home environment to maintain the safety of the elders.

• Appropriate lighting should be maintained within the range of home activities, such as placing a small lamp by the bed, installing a wall lamp in the toilet passage, preparing for emergency lighting, etc. The light switch should also have enough brightness. 

• In the normal course, obstacles, such as furniture, wires, etc. should be cleared, and the moving lines should be kept clear, and anti-collision strips or foam should be added to the sharp parts of the furniture.

• The floor of the home is kept dry and non-slip; the bedroom for the elderly is made of wooden floor or covered with anti-drop cushions.

The bathroom is the easiest place for elderly people to fall; It is necessary to install handrails near the toilet and bathtub, or place a bath chair, and install a non-slip foot pad in front of the door.

• The stairs should be equipped with railings and non-slip handrails, the slope of the stairs should be moderate, the step surface should be wide, the step height should not be too high, and the color of the step surface should be contrasted, and anti-slip strips should be attached to the edge. 

Get up slowly; first sit on the side of the bed for a while to avoid falling due to low blood pressure.

• Traveling in the suburbs should be accompanied by family members or companions. Pay attention to the terrain and weather changes of the outing route. Be good at using sticks or trekking poles. When walking, avoid stagnant water, depressions, steep slopes, weeds and gravel, at the same time, measure your physical strength and estimate the time required for the round trip.

Conclusion

In order to better take care of the elderly at home, in daily life, there are also these small details to pay attention to: 

Choose comfortable flat shoes when walking. When buying shoes for the elderly at home, many people mistakenly think that shoes with thick soles are more comfortable to wear than those with softer soles, but they are not. The thick soles of the elderly will hinder the elderly’s perception of the ground and increase the risk of falling. 

With age, everyone will have presbyopia symptoms. The elderly must wear appropriate reading glasses to read books and newspapers. Blurred vision caused by wearing inappropriate glasses is also a risk factor for falls. The elderly can adjust their glasses every six months to one year.

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