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Falls Prevention in the Home for Older Australians

The Significance of Falls Prevention is High Among Older Australians When You Consider that Falls are a Major Reason for Hospital Admissions

Falls are preventable in many cases. When you consider that around 1/3 of Australians over 65 had a fall in the last year, why aren’t we working harder to provide education on falls prevention?

Queensland Health reported that the highest mortality rates due to falls was among people aged 85 years and over, and the most reported incidents of falls were among those aged between 80 -89 years.

With this in mind, it appears that falls risk increases with age and falls prevention becomes increasingly significant as you age. Though falls happen anywhere, they most commonly occur in and around the home. Reducing the risk of falls is achievable by making some provisions around your home.

Man getting out of wheelchair with nurse

What Causes Falls?

Medications

Firstly consider the medications that you’re taking in regards to falls prevention. Medications are a key contributor to falls in the home. In many cases they’re attributed to side effects that you get from the medications, such as dizziness, being off balance, or a change in consciousness.

Some medications can lower your blood pressure or heart rate. Other medications help to rid your body of excess fluid, making the run to the toilet, urgent. Whatever the side effects are, if you feel any unwanted effects from your medications, have a chat with your doctor and discuss your options.

It could also be the combination of medications that you’re taking, contributing to you feeling effects.

Health Status and Co-morbidities

Another consideration is your current health status. For example, do you suffer from low blood pressure, making you feel dizzy when you stand up? Or is there an infection such as a Urinary Tract Infection that makes you to feel unwell and drowsy? Have your sensations changed in your extremities recently?

Whatever the reason that you feel unsteady, discuss it with your doctor, friends and family. There could be measures to help reduce the risk of falling due to how your current health is.

Reduce the Risk of Falling

So, it’s time to think about some options to reduce your falls risk:

  • Don’t get up too quickly. If you feel light headed or dizzy, wait until it passes until you mobilize.
  • Be careful and mindful of your position when you bend over. Make sure you feel steady first.
  • Take your time to get somewhere. If your phone’s ringing and you’re in the other room, don’t rush to answer it. Bring your phone closer to you so that you can answer it in time when the person calls back.
  • Use your mobilizing aids to walk around.
  • Visit a Physiotherapist. They can help you with your gate and balance.
  • Make sure that your shoelaces are done up and that your footwear’s secured and appropriate before you start walking around.
  • If you’ve pain in your feet, see a Podiatrist or at least discuss it you’re your G.P.
  • Exercise is good at any age. Many gyms have Exercise Physiologists that can tailor a program to work with your limitations to reach your mobility goals.
  • Careful when you’re walking on the uneven ground.

Who Can Help Me?

Finally, get the support that you need if you’re struggling with your mobility, balance and gate. For example, visit a podiatrist if you’re having problems with your feet. Have your eyes tested if you’ve had a change in vision. Also consider addressing any concerns regarding incontinence so that you’re not rushing for the toilet.

If you’re on a Home Care Package or receiving the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, you can look at including allied health services such as podiatry or physiotherapy into your home care.

The main point is do’t be afraid to talk about falls prevention. If you’ve had a fall it’s important to report it to your doctor so that they can do an assessment to see if there’s any underlying causes that prompted the fall.

Most importantly, if you’ve fallen and you’re hurt or injured, call the emergency line on 000.


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