Tips To Help You Reduce The Risk Of Falling And The Potential Of Serious Injury
Anyone can lose their balance, but seniors are at higher risk of falling. The Pegasus caregivers at Pacoioma and elsewhere help people every day who have been hurt in a fall. They have collected these tips for reducing the potential for serious injury if you fall.
Falling is the biggest cause of injuries in older adults. Fear of falling may be keeping you or your loved one from activities you enjoy. Unfortunately, the fear of falling can increase the risk of going down.
Improving Balance Prevents Falls
Good balance is essential in preventing falls. Seeking medical care for the following can help reduce the possibility of losing your balance:
- Gait – loss of flexibility and coordination, usually due to decreased activity, can lead to missteps
- Vision – individuals that have vision difficulties can trip over objects they can’t see
- Medications – side effects of medications, or interactions between two or more, are a source of dizziness or disorientation
- Health – chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or stroke can leave an individual weak
Pegasus home care service includes physical and occupational specialists. Those experts can help you or your senior loved one improve gait and strength. The gentle exercises and movements they suggest can also improve overall fitness.
Physicians and optometrists may provide relief for health and vision issues. Medications may be eliminated or dosages reduced. Progressive lenses in eyeglasses may reduce the stumbling caused by bifocals.
Doing what you can to remedy or alleviate the above causes will prevent many falls. Some experts point to additional reasons that individuals fall, which include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Dizziness from standing up too quickly
- Not getting enough sleep
These are habits that are under your control. You can significantly reduce your risk of falling by eliminating them. You can also reduce the potential of your senior loved one falling by helping them eliminate these practices.
Installing grab bars prevents many falls. Good lighting, especially on stairs, is essential. Removing all clutter eliminates tripping.
Learn How To Fall Safely
No matter what precautions you take, the time will come when you or your senior loved one falls. That’s when you need to know the techniques for reducing the severity of the fall.
One fall prevention method you may have heard about is parkour. Parkour began as military training to teach individuals how to survive in their environment. It included mastering a physically demanding obstacle course.
Parkour has been modified over the years to teach individuals how to land with minimal injury when they fall. Parkour for seniors is now about building strength and learning to move in your environment. Navigating obstacles includes practicing a safe fall after pretending to trip on a step.
Advice from a professional stunt woman for reducing injury from falling includes:
- Bend – when you feel yourself losing your balance, bend your elbows and knees. That provides some “give” for your body. Stiffness or rigidity increases the potential severity of an injury. Extending your arm to attempt to break your fall usually results in a broken wrist.
- Protect your head – turn your face to the side if you’re falling forward. If you’re going backward, try to tuck your chin toward your chest. The object is to keep your head from hitting the ground.
- Land where you’re padded – try to move so that you don’t land on a bony part of your body. Let your muscles or thicker parts of your body, such as thighs or hips, take the brunt of the fall.
- Go with it – roll into the fall rather than trying to stop it. Rolling will spread your touchdown over more areas of your body, lessening the blow to each part.
She reminds individuals to stay aware of their surroundings rather than lost in thought.
A physical or occupational therapist can teach you how to fall. They consider your health, your fitness, and your environment to determine what’s safe for you. Then they’ll show you how to safely practice so that the movement is second nature for you.
Falls happen without warning, and that’s why practice is essential. If you’ve been through the drill repeatedly, it won’t matter that you don’t have time to think. Your body and mind will react instinctively.
Prevent Further Injury By Not Moving If You Fall
When you do fall, what you do next will affect your injuries. If at all possible, do not move. Experts recommend the following actions:
- Stay calm
- Take several deep breaths
- Relax and remain still
- Assess the extent of your injuries, if any
- If you aren’t injured, or your injuries are minor, roll onto your side
- Get on your hands and knees and crawl to something, such as a chair, that you can safely use to pull yourself upright
- If you are injured, wait for help
Remember that any sudden or jerky movements will potentially cause an injury or make injuries worse.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Since 1994, we’ve helped individuals remain safe and independent in their home. Our caregivers in Pacoioma and our other locations can help you or your loved one avoid injury from falling.