Monday, November 3, 2008

More on the elderly and falling

One of my pet topics is preventing injury among our seniors. I've written a few times on the dangers of a senior breaking a hip and how this can be the beginning of a decline that can result in someone who was originally very healthy, seeing his or her independence lost forever (Broken hips in the elderly can lead to death).

When I teach first aid, I emphasize prevention of the accident to begin with before I start teaching what to do after the emergency happened.

Some famous people have fallen lately - two seem to be recovering, but one has died since his fall two weeks ago. Not long ago, Nancy Reagan fell and broke her pelvis. Recently, Barack Obama's grandmother, the who raised him, fell and broke her pelvis and hip. And the other day, author Studs Terkel, died two weeks after he fell.

There are several ways to minimize falls in the home and outside. They can't eliminate all accidents, but they can limit the chances of them happening:

Remove all scatter rugs, even those that lay on carpets. While scatter rugs on smooth floors can slip, scatter rugs on carpets can catch the toe of someone and cause that person to trip.

Ensure handles and side rails on all stairs, even if there are only 2 or 3 steps, are present and well fastened.

If there is carpet on the stairs, be sure it is well tacked down.

Consider putting rubber treads on wooden stairs.

Don't leave any objects on the stairs.

Have a nightlight that turns on when it senses movement, particularly at the top of stair cases.

Install grab bars in the bathroom.

Wipe up all spills immediately to prevent slipping.

Make sure all electrical cords are off to the side or in such a way that they can't be a tripping hazard.

Wear slippers or shoes with good rubber soles or anti-slip fabrics. Do not walk on non-carpeted floors in your socks.

If you take medications to help you sleep, do not take laxatives that will work in the middle of the night.

Do you have any to add?

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1 comment:

Sheila Lehner said...

Yes, falls for the elderly are very serious. As is the over all quality of life of this population. I would like to get the word out about a program called Benevolent Ballet-Fall Prevention for the Elderly. This is a unique exercise program that offers a solution to several of the challenging concerns of the healthcare industry. We all know that exercise is important to improve and maintain mobility. But motivating this population to exercise and do so with enough effort to achieve the desired goals is the challenge. The Benevolent Ballet teaching approach works by using empathic engagement to motivate and inspire while delivering a carefully developed exercise curriculum which integrates classical and semi classical music with movement to improve posture, range of motion and balance. This enriching arts component, moves the spirit, builds confidence and allows for self-expression and the release of pent up energy. The participants have a delightful time and so participate with the energy needed for them to achieve to their maximum potential.

One day training seminars for health care staff of nursing homes, assisted living and adult day care have been held in 11 states. These were sponsored by individual health care corporations and other organizations such as the Quality Improvement Organizations charged by Medicare with improving the quality of care in long term care.
Sheila Lehner