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Preventing Falls in Old Age

Falling is one of the most common problems in old age, and the results can be devastating. With just a few small changes in your parents’ lifestyle and in their home, you can minimize the danger of falling

Author:  Michal Avraham / Family Care
Last update23/05/16
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Intro:Falls in old age can be disastrous for the elderly person, taking precautions and preventing the fall are very often the key to both quality and length of life

What causes falls?

1.      A person’s state of health – many illnesses and conditions typical of  old age affect a person’s stability and sense of balance. Problems such as  a decline in hearing or eyesight, osteoporosis and strokes may cause weakness, lack of balance and reduced confidence in movement –  which may bring about falls.

2.      Medications – many medications affect a person’s level of alertness, stability and blood pressure, and as a result, can cause falls.

3.      The elderly person’s physical surroundings – furniture, a wet shower floor, electric/telephone wires, rugs and steps, can all  become dangerous in old age.  It is simple and advisable to make changes that make the home a safer place.

4.      The street environment can also become dangerous – an uneven sidewalk or a street light that isn’t working can lead to a fall.

How to prevent falls

The most important piece of advice is to be aware and not ignore the issue, anticipate problems, and fix things before a fall happens.  Encourage your parents to make the necessary changes in their home and lifestyle.  If your parents have suffered repeated falls, report this to the doctor (Preferably geriatrician) and ask  for his intervention.

How to create a safer home

When parents reach old age, sometimes we must put aside aesthetics and even sentiments attached to furniture and interior design,  and focus on what is practical and safe.

1.     Living room – move furniture to the sides, clear wires away from paths, remove carpets and make sure the lighting is sufficient and convenient.

2.      Bathroom – it is best for elderly people to bathe in the shower, since getting in and out of the bathtub can be dangerous and may cause falls.  Change to liquid soap which does not slip out of the bather’s hand, attach a safety mat to the shower floor, and install aids such as hand rails in the shower and toilet areas.  Remove keys from doors of all bathrooms.

3.      Kitchen – arrange all products used on a daily basis within comfortable reach. Place utensils conveniently, so that your parents won’t need to get on a chair or stepladder to reach them. Attach a mat securely to the floor next to the sink, so the floor won’t get wet.

4.      Stairs – make sure that staircases – both inside and outside the home – have safety handrails and proper lighting.  It is advisable to remove any plants or other ornaments from the staircase area.

‘MILBAT’ (a non-profit organization ) has developed a special Application for maintaining the safety and preventing falls. for more information call- 0722230007

For the complete guide to adjust the adult safety house, click here

A healthy lifestyle helps prevent falls

1.      Encourage your parents to exercise regularly and safely. Physical exercise builds up muscle strength, stability and a general sense of well-being, all of which help to prevent falls.

2.      Make sure your parents eat well, don’t skip meals, and drink a lot.

3.      Pay attention to the medications your parents are taking, and make sure that their medication is properly balanced.

4.      An elderly person’s senses of sight and hearing must be perserved as much as possible. Make sure your parents have regular check-ups and wear  appropriate glasses and/or hearing aids.

5.      Note how your parents walk and encourage them to use walking aids when needed.

6.      If your parents have difficulties with daily functions, consult an occupational therapist about available aids that can make their life easier and safer.

Keeping trouble away…

1.      It is advisable for your parents to use an alarm button and always wear the bracelet with the button.

2.      Write a list of important telephone numbers and put it next your parents’ telephone.

3.      In case of a fall, don’t rush to pick up your parent. First make sure that he or she has not been injured. Afterwards consult a medical professional.

For more information watch the film Add Life to the Years.

The information presented in the english website is partial. For full info please visit our hebrew website

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