Have you noticed you or your loved one looking imbalanced while performing their daily activities? Understanding fall prevention techniques can help seniors stay safe at home and aid in the prevention of possible injury. There are many tips to reduce the risk of falls and improve balance and mobility. Most of the risk factors need to be explored when there is a loss in balance.
MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS
- Incontinence of bowel and bladder
- Environmental hazards
- Non supportive footwear
- Improper mobility aid
- Blood pressure problems
NON-MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS
- Age >80
- Prior fall history
*Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes
- Permanent sensory loss
STRATEGIES FOR FALLS PREVENTION
REMOVAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS
- Removal of throw People often trip or slip on them with footwear or ambulation aid.
- Immediately clean up Water spills are the most dangerous due to not being able to see them
- Use a non-skid mat in the bathtub or shower to prevent Use a tub or shower bench to sit while bathing to increase safety.
- Keep walking paths clutter Light up your living space.
- Removal of clutter-newspapers, boxes, cords to avoid
Occupational Therapy can perform a home safety evaluation with a doctor’s referral to assess potential hazards and provide recommendations to increase safety in the home and aid in the reduction of the likelihood of falls.
WEAR SUPPORTIVE FOOTWEAR: Flip flops, high heels, slip on shoes, socks should be avoided because they can cause risks for falling. A supportive shoe should be properly fitted, have a non-skid sole and proper height sole. Non supportive shoes are a common source for muscle pain, tendonitis, ankle sprains.
KEEP ACTIVE: Regular physical activity can produce long term benefits. Balance and stretching exercises enhance stability and flexibility which can help aid in fall prevention. Physical Therapy can make an individualized home exercise program to address balance and strength and can also assess that you are getting the proper support from your mobility device
MAKE AN DOCTOR APPOINTMENT: Review with your doctor medications that you are currently on to determine if they may be increasing your risk for falling. Medications such as antidepressants, pain relievers, antihistamines, anti anxiety sleep aids and blood pressure pills frequently affect thinking and balance. Discuss your fall history and the details of your fall. This will help your MD identify specific fall prevention strategies.
Please contact our occupational therapy or physical therapy department at 920-288-0042 for additional information about our therapy programs and how they can help you remain Upright and Safe!