Fall Prevention is a MAJOR concern for our elderly population.  We like to present such important information to our surrounding communities via in-services at local hospitals, senior centers, and nursing homes.  We, at West Rehab, would like to share this information with our blog followers as well.

Leaves FALL … but YOU don’t have to!

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Fall Facts:

  • 1 of every 3 adults over the age of 65 fall each year.
  • 1/2 of adults age 80 and older fall each year.
  • If you have fallen once, you are 2 to 3 more times likely to fall again.
  • 87% of fractures in the elderly are due to falls.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death, due to the many injuries they can cause.
  • Falls account for 25% of hospital admissions, 40% of nursing home admissions.
  • 40% of these people do not return to Independent living after their fall.
  • 25% of these people die within 1 year after their fall.
  • 47% of these people cannot get up on their own after falling.
  • Getting help/medical attention can improve your chance of survival and Independent living by 80%.

safety first

 

Even if you don’t think you were hurt after your fall, it’s CRUCIAL to tell your healthcare provider.  Some damage may not show up until days or weeks later.  There could be an underlying condition that is causing your falls.  Some of your medications may have been altered, or need to be altered.  
 
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Several Medical Conditions are associated with falls:

  • Heart disease/Heart Failure (CHF)
    • Heart disease can cause balance or instability issues.  This can cause an everyday activity to become hazardous.
  • Mental Confusion/Dementia
    • One might not have the best judgment when determining if an activity is dangerous, which can lead to a fall.
  • Vision Problems/Cataracts
    • Vision becomes compromised with age unfortunately.  Obstacles and surroundings can be very dangerous if not seen.
  • Arthritis
    • Usually causes painful joints, which can then cause resultant weakness.  This can contribute to decreased safety awareness and increased chance of falls.
  • Low blood pressure
    • Orthostatic Hypotension – when you are lying down and attempt to stand up too fast, you can become overwhelmed with a sense of dizziness/lightheadedness
  • COPD
    • This can leave you short of breath, or can cause labored breathing.  This will often physically exhaust the body and cause weakness, dizziness, and loss of balance.
  • Diabetes
    • Your blood sugar rapidly changing, whether high or low, can cause increased dizziness/fainting spells.
    • Diabetic Neuropathy alters sensation, which can affect a person’s gait, therefore affecting their overall safety.
  • Stroke
    • Usually a stroke will leave you with muscular weakness, which can lead to falls.
    • Strokes can also impair brain activity/judgment.
  • Parkinson’ Disease
    • One could and often does develop tremors, gait instability, and balance deficits.

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Medications Associated with Falls

  • Antidepressants
  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics
  • Benzodiazepines

antidepressants

 

Exercise can help!!!

It has been scientifically proven that increased activity and physical exercise help improve bone strength and density, balance, functional mobility, proprioceptive awareness, and gait pattern.

Exercise can also help control pain from several conditions such as arthritis; and also post operative conditions.

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Completing 20 reps of each exercise twice a day can be very beneficial in increasing strength, balance, functional mobility, and proprioception.

Fall Prevention Checklist:

  • Avoid dim lighting, make sure your space is well lit, especially stairs and high traffic areas
  • Remove loose rugs, they can cause you to trip!
  • Clean up the clutter, this can also cause you to trip!
  • Add grab rails to your shower and toilet areas
  • Handrails are a MUST for the stairs!
  • Stay active!  Exercise will help increase your balance, strength, and functional mobility!
  • For any other questions, call your healthcare provider!

THINK SAFETY FIRST!!!

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WEST IS THE WAY TO RECOVERY!

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