If you must fall, then let it only be in love! Indeed, falls are no jokes if statistics are to be believed. A WHO report says that people the chances of a fall keep going higher with age for those above 65 years. In India, the prevalence of falls is in the 14-53% range for those above 60 years. What’s worrying is that unintentional issues due to falls account for 11% of mortality globally. That’s the reason why we need to stress fall prevention tips. It is known that as we age, we heal slower. Our bones get weaker too and a simple fall can lead to a fracture. Hence, as we age, it is better to ensure that we take good care not to fall. So, what can we do as go about our daily lives to avoid falls?
Ensure periodic check-ups
Why are health check-ups linked to falls? For the simple reason that most falls are due to balance and gait issues, vision or hearing issues, some unknown health issues, or medication effects. These can be plugged in if regular check-ups are undertaken.
Do a safety assessment at home
A safety assessment can help understand troublesome points in the house that can lead to falls. Slippery areas, blind spots, poor lighting, stairs, etc. are some issues that can be corrected. There are many ways in which homes can be made fall-safe. The one place in the house where maximum fall prevention happens in the bathroom. Special care should be taken for this. Luckily, new-age household fittings like grab bars, toilet seats, sensor-based lights, etc. are a great help.
Apart from this, removing obstacles and avoiding clothes or mats/carpets that trip, etc. are important steps to be taken in the house. Make sure that you don’t have unattended wires and cords around on which you can trip. Any spills anywhere in the house should be immediately cleaned. Any plumbing leaks should also be plugged.
Making lifestyle changes
While we may hate it, if full mobility is an issue, it is best to use a walking aid like a stick or a walker. Rather than suffering from broken bones, a little safety works out best for all. Avoiding alcohol consumption is another essential lifestyle change, especially if you find that it doesn’t agree with you as it did earlier. Avoid all slippery surfaces, especially outdoors. It could be a slippery floor in a mall or a road with snow or ice. You can also consider using bath stools to maintain balance while taking bath.
Always wearing the right shoes with good soles and grip, is important to prevent falls. Another aspect is to respect our aging body. Learn to stand up slowly and avoid any rapid movements that can affect the balance. Regular exercise to keep your muscles and bones agile is essential too.
What to do if you fall?
Despite our best care, there are possibilities of accidental falls. If you have fallen and are conscious, then please don’t move immediately. Try to assess your injuries. Slowly move your hands, legs, hips, etc to see if you can move or if it pains, etc. Try to lift your head, and take the assistance of people nearby if available. But ensure to tell people not to pull you up and you have to roll to the side, sit up, rest and then attempt to stand up. Even if everything looks alright, you may still want to have a sip of water and rest for a while before deciding to move.
If you feel that you heard some broken bones, then please don’t move. Call for an ambulance to take you to a hospital to assess the damage. The first-aid workers who come are fully trained to assess and move you rightly. At best, if you are in an uncomfortable position, you can consider asking for a pillow to rest your head, or lean against something, if possible. Ask for a blanket to cover up if required. Sometimes, any internal damage may not be seen or felt immediately. Some injuries can trouble people even a long time after they fall. Hence, it is important not to hide falls and consult a doctor just to be sure.