One of the most common reasons for falling is a loss of balance. Completing daily exercise helps maintain physical fitness, agility, and core strength and can help prevent falls by improving posture and mobility. In our opinion, the most practical exercises to do on a daily basis are the “sit-to-stand” and “balance”
Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, especially when combined with other medications. When being prescribed new medications always take along a list of daily medications and ask if any conflict. Read possible side effects or speak to a medical professional if feeling dizzy or unwell.
Some medications that may cause dizziness include Antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and doxepin), Antihistamines (such as hydroxyzine) and Antiseizure drugs (such as gabapentin).
When starting on new medication make daily notes and record if there are any symptoms that weren’t present before the new prescription.
As we age, it is common for vision to deteriorate or develop eye conditions such as cataracts. Tasks that we were once familiar with can be challenging. Visit the optician a minimum of every two years. If vision is blurry or misty, it is important to visit the optician, as this can make seeing obstacles challenging.
Make sure lighting is adequate at night so that the home is not dark when going from room to room or navigating the stairs in darkness. Poor lighting is a common cause of falls among seniors. We recommend purchasing plug-in night lights with sensors.
Keep paths well lit by using lamps with shades or placing them in strategic locations along walkways. This applies to outside the property too. Take into account if there is a poorly lit walk to the front door or in the back garden.
Make sure the home is set up with important items within reachable distance. A common reason that the elderly fall is when rushing to answer the door or telephone.
Purchase mobile handsets for your landline and keep mobile phones in pockets or convenient places.
A video doorbell such as Ring or Nest is great for security and also means that there can be communication with the person outside without having to rush to the front door to get there in time for the delivery driver. Another option is to install intercoms on each floor.
What is a trip hazard? A trip hazard could be a turned-up rug, uneven walking surfaces, cluttered floor, wrinkled carpeting, wet or slippery floors, loose cables, bottom drawers not being closed, side tables and chair legs in front of walking paths.
A second set of eyes is always useful to review the home and look out for any hazards.
Uncomfortable shoes can constrain the foot, which can make it difficult to walk and maintain balance. Older pairs of shoes may get worn out and ill-fitting and no longer be suitable for an elderly person’s needs.
Find a shoe that is both sturdy and supportive with a low heel. Higher heels can increase the likelihood of twisting an ankle.
Shoe soles should have a good grip to prevent slipping. An appropriate pair of shoes will grip the ground in wet or dry conditions.
If wearing shoes inside the home isn’t preferable, consider a pair of no-slip socks with good grip to indoor flooring.
The elderly are more vulnerable to dehydration. When the body loses more fluid than it takes in, dehydration can occur.
As we age it is common to have a reduced sensation of being thirsty – this is affects people that have had a stroke or have Alzheimer’s. Some medicines such as diuretics and laxatives may increase the risk of dehydration.
Six to eight cups of fluid should be drunk on a daily basis.
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons for a fall for the elderly; common complications include low blood pressure, weakness and dizziness.
A little planning can help prevent falls. The elderly often suffer with reduced mobility and it might be necessary to install home adaptations to help make it safer to navigate around the home.
To book a home assessment call your local council. An Occupational Therapist will visit to evaluate the home and determine if equipment is required.
Common adaptations to the home are: