Friday, November 16, 2007

Avoiding Falls

Falling or fear of falling causes many older adults to put limits on their activity, causing a downward spiral of decreased strength, less balance and deconditioning which leads to an increased risk of falling. There are a number of actions that can be taken to decrease the risk of falling.

Encourage your loved one to:
1. Wear shoes and slippers that have non-slip soles. Avoid wearing socks only - they might cause a slip.

2. Be extra careful if the bathroom floor becomes wet. If the bathroom has handrails, encourage him or her to hold onto them when getting up or down. Make sure non-slip strips are on the bathtub floor.

3. If he or she wears a bathrobe or nightgown, be sure it is short enough to avoid tripping on.

4. Discourage leaving clothes, magazines, bags, or other objects lying around on the floor - they are easy targets to trip over.

5. Place loose electrical cords or telephone wires out of walking areas.

6. Before going to sleep, place glasses within easy reach. Get out of bed or chair slowly, and sit up before standing.

7. Sit in higher chairs or chairs with armrests - they're easier to get in and out of.

8. Remove or secure any loose rugs or mats.

9. Make sure hallways and staircases are well lighted. (If the hallway or staircase in the building is not well lighted, call the superintendent.) When walking up or down stairs, hold onto a handrail or use a cane.

10. Wipe up any kitchen spills as soon as they happen.

11. Place lamps in dark areas. If he or she walks into a dark area, let eyes first adjust to the dark.

12. If he or she do fall, DON'T PANIC! Try using a stable chair or some other piece of furniture to help him or her to get up. Call 911 for help if he or she cannot get up.