Every year at least 500,000 people aged 65 years and over attend accident and emergency departments as the result of accidents at home. The majority of these being falls. More than 3,500 people in England and Wales die every year following a fall and nearly a third of a million people need hospital treatment. Many older people who suffer from falls never fully recover from either the physical or psychological impact of their injuries. Sadly, falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over the age of 75.
Although the fall itself often doesn’t cause a serious injury; if the casualty is unable to get up following their fall, they are more likely to suffer hypothermia and pressure sores. Most accidents in the elderly result from falls from stairs or steps with over 60 per cent of deaths resulting from accidents on stairs. Therefore, it is extremely important to take steps to prevent falls where possible.
Don’t leave items on the stairs, as it is too easy to trip over them.
Replace damaged carpet and avoid repetitive carpet patterns that can affect perception and make it more difficult to see individual stairs.
Ensure hallways, stairs and landings are well lit with two-way light switches.
Make sure banisters are sturdy and secure, two easy-grip handrails gives more stability.
As we get older we are more prone to losing our balance through sudden movements, getting out of a chair or bed a bit quicker than usual. Getting up very slowly and bringing the head up last can help reduce the dizzy effects.
Floors and surfaces should be as clear as possible as worn rugs, slippery paths, uneven surfaces, trailing cables, and items left lying around.
Ill fitting shoes that have lost their grip, or old slippers can aid in causing the falling
Grab rails and places to sit down in the bathroom and kitchen can be helpful if suddenly feeling dizzy.
Floors should be cleaned carefully to ensure that they are not slippery and any spillages should cleaned as soon as possible,
Having a fall could be an indicator of underlying health problem. It is sensible to make an appointment with your GP for a check up. There are specific muscle strengthening exercise classes, physiotherapy and lots of support and advice.
keep your mobile phone with you at all times and fully charged and consider installing a community alarm system to make it easier to quickly summon help if needed.