Aging at Home & Fall Prevention
The strain on public resources for healthcare is going to continue to climb significantly. In an effort by government to cut healthcare costs, we’re already seeing: reduced time spent in hospital, fewer public LTC beds available, and more expensive private Assisted Living/Retirement facilities. Aging at home is quickly becoming the only option for many. More often than not, the primary caregiver is a family member. By staying healthy and active, that aging consumer will have fewer doctor/hospital visits, which will lead to a reduced strain on the healthcare system.
Falls is the leading cause of injury related visits to emergency rooms across Canada. The fastest growing group represents 12.6% of the population. 35-40% of adults 65+ in good health fall at least once per year. Falls is the primary cause of deaths in people over the age of 65. In people 65+, falls are cause of death in 75% of incidences. Falls are also the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury in the older population.
Fracture is the most serious injury associated with falls. 87% of falls result in a fracture for people over the age of 65. Common fractures: Hip, Pelvis, Spine, Hand, and Wrist.
Hip fractures likely to require 10 day to 2 weeks hospitalization. It affects personal independence. It results in admittance to rehab facility or nursing home. 50% of people who suffer from hip fracture can no longer live independently while 25% die within 6 months of the injury.
Things You Need To Know
Aging often causes changes in: Vision, Hearing, Reflexes, Coordination, and Strength • Progression of chronic illnesses: – Diabetes – Heart disease – Arthritis • Acute events: – Heart attack – Stroke.
Four Things You Can Do To Prevent Falls:
While changes in eyesight and hearing often cannot be stopped, nor a heart attack or stroke foreseen, there are measures that can be taken to help prevent falls.
1. Begin a regular exercise program
Makes you stronger & feel better
Lack of exercise leads to weakness, increasing the chance for falls.
2. Review Your Medicines
Always check with your pharmacist/doctor. As we age, the way medicine works in our bodies changes. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can cause fatigue or dizziness.
3. Have your vision checked
Conditions like glaucoma or cataracts can limit your vision.
Poor vision increases the chances of falling.
4. Make your home safer
50%of all falls happen at home
Remove things you can trip over from stairs and places where you walk (like books, clothes & shoes)
Remove small throw rugs or use double sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping
Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool
Improve the lighting in your home
Hang light weight curtains or shades to reduce glare
Wear shoes both inside and outside the house – avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers