FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Simple Falls Create Complex Problems
Falling is the leading cause of emergency room visits for the elderly. Awareness and prevention are key to keeping geriatric population safe within their own homes.
(BOISE – July 2, 2008) –Many in the geriatric population suffer from a fear of falls, and for good reason. According to the International Fall Prevention Institution, falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to emergency centers in the United States and the primary cause of accidents in persons over the age of 65. Although common, falls are not a normal part of aging. Though falls are usually preventable, few people are educated on preventing the risks before becoming a victim. For this reason, ASSISTING ANGELS HOME CARE is encouraging the local community to become more aware about risk factors for falls and methods for prevention.
More than 90 percent of hip fractures occur as a result of falls, with most of these fractures occurring in persons more than 70 years of age. The Colorado State University Extension reports that one-fourth of those who fracture a hip die within six months of the injury. The most profound effect of falling is the loss of independent functioning, with 25 percent of those who fracture a hip requiring life-long nursing care. In addition, two-thirds of those who experience a fall will fall again in the next six months.
To reduce risks of falls, it is imperative to know contributing factors and combat them effectively. Factors include osteoporosis, lack of physical activity, impaired vision, medications, and environmental hazards.
Some ways caregivers can reduce the risk of falls:
- Encourage regular exercise (i.e., every other day for about 15 minutes daily) designed to increase muscle and bone strength, and to improve balance and flexibility
- Regularly help to conduct weight-bearing exercises where the feet and legs are bearing weight
- Understand the common side effects of all medications taken
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control indicates that approximately half of all falls happen at home. Common threats are falls from ladders, as well as tripping over vacuum cleaner cords, telephone cords, and dog leashes.
Tips for preventing falls in the elderly are as follows:
- Repair cracks and abrupt edges in sidewalks and driveways
- Install handrails on stairs and steps
- Living spaces (including hallways, pathways and stairways)
- Utilize alternate colors to denote changes in surface types or levels
- Secure rugs and carpet edges with nonskid tape; avoid throw rugs
- Have at least one phone extension in each level of the home and post emergency numbers on the wall
- Utilize a bedside light that is easy to turn on and off, such as a touch light
- Locate a telephone within reach of each bed
- Use a sturdy step stool when you need something from a high shelf
- Make sure appliance cords are out of the way
- Avoid using floor polish or wax in order to reduce slick surfaces
- Install grab bars on walls around the tub and beside the toilet, strong enough to hold your weight
- Add nonskid mats or strips to bathtubs
- Install a portable, hand-held shower head and a raised toilet seat if needed
- Use nonskid mats or carpet on floor surfaces that may get wet
Some products to consider for preventing falls include:
- Door guards to remind people not to walk through doorways where they could fall down stairs and door alarms to alert a caregiver if it happens anyway
- Monitoring systems to alert caregivers when patient gets out of bed or chair
- Wheelchair lap pillows and belts and foam wedges to prevent slipping
- Slipper socks (for showering) and wheelchair slippers to prevent heel from sliding off footrests
- Uplifts for commodes or chairs
- Bedrails and transfer handles
People of all ages, particularly those in geriatric populations, can take preventative measures to reduce falls which will eventually result in a safer and better quality of life. Additionally, ASSISTING ANGELS HOME CARE offers care for individuals who have suffered from a fall as well as advice and guidance for friends and family who serve as caregivers. We urge the public to become educated about falls and offer ourselves as a helpful resource for all who wish to learn more about methods for prevention.
About ASSISTING ANGELS HOME CARE
ASSISTING ANGELS HOME CARE is located in Idaho and is a locally owned and operated business serving the entire Treasure Valley. It was founded in 2006 and its mission is to provide the highest quality home care and personal care service available. We believe the care we provide enables our clients to live with as much independence and dignity as their condition allows, providing peace of mind to our clients and their families. We will offer these services efficiently, and compassionately. We will provide these services in many settings including homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals or wherever our clients reside.
For further information and to download free resources, visit our website at www.AssistingAngels.biz.