1. Who Falls?
Well, we all fall one way or the other, the problem lies in how we manage falls for our respected age groups. If a toddler falls, he easily able to get right back up and continue his life without injury, similarly if an adult trips he is generally able to catch himself and find his or her balance, often not even noticing he or she tripped. However, if seniors fall over the age of 65, a trip of a fall becomes more and more unmanageable. Our balance is not as sturdy as it once was, our arms cannot withstand our body weight, and therefore catching our falls become harder, and prior injuries make it harder for our body to react in time to fall correctly. This is nothing to feel embarrassed about and knowing you are more susceptible to falling can make you aware and look for solutions to aid in overcoming this issue.
- 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall and we age this ratio goes up.
- Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments in Canada for fall injuries.
- Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,8 usually by falling sideways.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.11 Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
2. Age Matters
As we age, particularly as we get over the age of 65 the chances of an injury-related fall become greater. One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. Therefore, fall awareness is important. Knowing how to fall, and what to do when you fall can mean the difference between have a bruise or a hospital stay.
2. What Types of Injuries Result from a Fall?
Broken bones make up the most injuries resulting from a fall and these hip fractures are the most concerning. When you fall it is important to know what to do and in the case of a hip fracture or severe broken bone, it is not always easy to get to a phone line to call for help. Therefore, Medical Alert Pendants are such a hand lifeline to have.
3. What Fall Related Injury is Most Concerning
Hip fractures are concerning as people who fracture their hips over the age of 65 are 3-4 more likely to die within a year from the surgery than the general population.
Hip fractures related to a fall account for 95% of all hip fractures among seniors aged 65 and over.
4. What Treatment is Sought After You Have A Fall?
67% of all injury-related falls require immediate medical attention and seek treatment at the nearest emergency room. This is important as the quicker you can get medical attention the greater your chances of a full recovery.
If falls do not need immediate attention, in the event of a sprained ankle or torn ligament, most seniors go see their GP or go to a walk-in clinic to get treatment.
5. Where and What to People Fall Over
Most falls occur doing day to day activities. They happen when least expected, doing mundane activities. Falling over area rugs, slipping in the shower or bathtub, and over pets add the amount of surface falls, which account for 45% of all falls. Falling climbing up and down stairs amount to 13 percent of falls and falling over ice is the cause of 16% of all falls.
6. Fall Prevention
There are 6 things you can do to help prevent falls:
1. Area Mats
The place what or where people fall the most in one’s home is in fact the living room and over an area mat. Tripping over area mats are the single most common area to fall over in one’s home.
Preventative strategy: Although you may be attached to your area mats you may think about donating them. If you do not want to part with the mats, one thing you can do it tape them down. This will keep the lip of the mats down and reduce the chances of you falling over them
2. Shower and bathroom surfaces
What makes the bathroom a tripping site is that it can get very slick. The tiles on your floor and shower when wet cause your feet to slip and through your body off balance.
Preventative strategy: Laying non-slip rubber mats down in the bathtub, shower, and floor. Make sure they are rubber and do not have a lip that curls up. Installing handlebars on the walls of the shower or bath can help you keep your balance and help catch a fall.
Another cause of falling over is clutter. Anywhere your feet have trouble getting around, over, gets in the way of walking can cause falling.
Preventative Strategy: Here is a great article on how to declutter
They do not mean to do it, but pets can move in front of you when you are not looking.
Preventative strategy: Pets are part of your family and I would not suggest giving your dog or cat away unless they have been the cause of a few falls. Making a mental note that when you get up from your chair, couch, or walking into a new room to look down at your feet to make sure they are not there.
Not wearing the right size of shoe can be a big reason why you may fall.
Preventative strategy: If you have shoes that are too big or too small for that fact to donate them, after buying a new pair that fit your feet. Almost all shoe retailers have tools that can help find your exact shoe size. When purchasing a new pair, speak to the manager, and ask them to help you find the right pair.
Your eyesight is not what it used to be. You know you should go get them tested but you have been putting it off.
Preventative Strategy: This is something you should make a priority to go get checked. A lot of falls happened because you cannot see an object in the way.
7. What to Do When You’ve Had a Fall
Follow These Five Steps for Getting Up
- Lie on your side, bend the leg that is on top and lift yourself onto your elbows or hands.
- Pull yourself toward an armchair or other sturdy object, then kneel while placing both hands on the chair or object.
- Place your stronger leg in front, holding on to the chair or object.
- Stand up.
- Very carefully, turn, and sit down.
If you feel any discomfort or are unable to get up, try to get help.
- Call out for help if you think you can be heard.
- If you have an emergency call device or telephone at hand, use it.
- If you don’t, try to slide yourself towards a telephone or a place where you will be heard.
- Make noise with your cane or another object to attract attention.
- Wait for help in the most comfortable position for you.
- If you can, place a pillow under your head and cover yourself with a piece of clothing or a blanket to stay warm.
- Try to move your joints to ease circulation and prevent stiffness.