The nights are turning cooler, the air is crisper, and the leaves are changing colors.
Fall is definitely here. That means it’s time for Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
Tomorrow is the Fall Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of Autumn.
The National Council on Aging has taken this opportunity to remind seniors about fall prevention and safety.
This week, in an interesting coincidence, is also National Rehabilitation Awareness Week. One of the main reasons patients join our rehabilitation program at Regency Nursing and Rehab is for post-fall rehabilitation.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. They are also a major cause of hip fractures, and cause more than half of all fatal head injuries.
Because our bones weaken as we age, seniors are much more likely to sustain serious injuries from falling. Sustaining a hip or knee fracture in old age can cause significant long-term disability. Very often, the fall victim can not regain their previous level of functioning and may require full-time help for the rest of their life.
At Regency Rehab, our goal is help our patients regain as much function as possible, so they can return to their homes, communities, and independent lifestyles. Of course, preventing the injury—by preventing the fall—is better than any therapy we can offer.
Here is a resource you need to help you and your loved ones prevent falls:
This is a useful checklist for fall prevention and safety. Print it out and tour your (or your elderly parent’s) home, noting what needs to be updated. The main points to keep in mind are:
- Keep hallways and living areas free of clutter.
- Use enough lighting around your home to reduce shadows and dark areas. Place night lights in strategic areas around the house.
- Store the things you use often within arm’s reach, and save the hard-to-reach cabinets for items you rarely or never use.
- Bathrooms can be a real falling hazard. Use non-skid surfaces, grab bars, and any other safety mechanisms that can help prevent falls.
You may also want to review your loved one’s medications with his or her doctor, to check if any of them cause loss of balance or dizziness.
Falling can happen to anyone, even young and healthy adults. Minimize your chances by setting up your living space properly, and reducing tripping hazards.
Happy Fall! (The season, we mean.)