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Any of us can fall at any time. But, it’s clear that, as we age, our susceptibility to falling increases. In our younger years, we can often regain our balance after slipping or, at the very least, break our falls with our hands. Seniors, however, often battle with limited strength and mobility. For them, slips and falls are incredibly dangerous and, many times, even life threatening.
“Falls among seniors (individuals 65 years and older) have become a significant health concern in Canada,” reports the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, “More than one-third of seniors experience falls, which can have a devastating physical and psychological impact, resulting in disability, chronic pain, loss of independence, reduced quality of life, and even death. Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors and also contribute to a significant burden on the healthcare system.”
On the Better Health While Aging blog, Dr. Leslie Kernisan explains that falls in older people are almost always “mulitfactorial”. In other words, there are several factors that could lead to a senior citizen’s penchant for falling down. She notes that it can be difficult to address every factor, but it’s important to know each of them in order to help significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Dr. Kernisan lists the three main reasons that seniors fall as health-based risks, environmental risks and triggers. Health-based risks are specific to each individual person. They can include such things as balance problems, weakness, chronic illnesses, vision problems and medication side-effects. Depending on a senior’s health issues, these factors may be hard to prevent.
Environmental risks include tripping hazards such as loose throw rugs, icy sidewalks are risky footwear. Avoiding these factors are easier. Eliminating tripping hazards from the home and being particularly mindful about the outdoor elements during the winter are smart ways of preventing falls.
Finally, triggers, says Dr. Kernisan, are “the sudden or occasional events that cause a challenge to balance or strength. They can be things like a strong dog pulling on a leash, or even health-related events like a moment of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in a person with diabetes.” Naturally, it’s important to not put seniors in positions to have their balance or strength compromised. And one’s health-related issues must always be monitored.
Given the above mentioned factors, one can automatically assume that a strict attention to one’s living environment is necessary. Secondly, keeping a watchful eye for outdoor elements that may cause slips and falls is required. It’s important to not underestimate even the simplest of things, such as the height of a curb or step. On Patch.com, Lisa Randall shares gerontologist, Dr. Rein Tideiksaar’s tips for outdoor fall prevention.
“Walk on grass if sidewalks or roads appear to be slippery or uneven (grassy areas provide more traction and solid footing),” advises Dr. Tideiksaar, “Wear correct eyewear when walking (reading glasses or bifocals can distort the ability to see potential hazards)…Walk in well-lit areas in the evening to provide the most visibility for hazards.”
At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer a wide range of wheelchairs, walkers and rollators which have all proven to help prevent seniors from falling. Which is the ideal mobility solution for you? For help with deciding, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!