Falls can be serious, sometimes fatal, for older adults. According to the Government of Canada, falls are the No. 1 cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors, and between 20 and 30 percent of older adults fall each year. On average, a senior is hospitalized because of a fall every 10 minutes.
It’s a common belief that falls are just a part of aging – that it’s inevitable seniors will fall. This is not necessarily true because most falls are preventable. Many ComForCare Home Care locations offer no obligation in-home fall safety evaluations and fall risk assessments. Our home safety check evaluates all aspects of someone’s living conditions. A trained professional will look at things such as:
- Are rugs and runners slip-resistant?
- Is there torn or loose carpeting?
- Is there adequate lighting?
- Is a person’s bed raised too high?
- Are there working smoke detectors in the home?
Once the inside and outside of the home have been evaluated, we’ll make suggestions on how to reduce fall risks. Recommendations may include installing a raised toilet seat, shower bench or grab bars in the bathroom, increasing the lighting or removing rugs.
During our fall risk assessment, a trained professional will evaluate the senior on a number of factors known to increase a person’s fall risk, such as:
- History of falls
- Mobility issues
- Vision impairment
- Certain medications
- Chronic conditions
If someone is found to be at a high risk of falling, we’ll encourage the person to take proactive steps to prevent a fall. This can include consulting a physical/occupational therapist for appropriate exercises to strengthen their muscles or a fall prevention program; talking with their primary care physician about medication side effects and health management; scheduling an eye exam or a contacting a medical equipment supplier for a walker, cane or another assistive device.
Whether you call it a trip, spill or stumble, falls can be serious, especially for older adults. However, through lifestyle adjustments, home modifications and proactive approaches to care, fall risks among seniors can be reduced.
If you have a client you think may be at risk for a fall, download and share this infographic about protecting oneself against falls.