elderly fall

Elderly falls: A major cause of preventable injury for the aged in SA

Did you know that falls were the second biggest cause of elderly hospital admissions last year? The Royal Melbourne Hospital released new statistics that re-confirm that falls are a major cause of injury for the elderly and most of these injuries happen at home. This is greater than admissions for strokes, dementia, or disease for the over 70 age group. Typical injuries sustained from a fall are sprains, bruises, dislocations, and unfortunately sometimes even death. Falls are a major preventable cause of injury for the aged & elderly in SA and Adelaide.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 424,000 fatal falls occur each year. Globally around 28-35% of people aged 65 and above will take a fall every year. In fact, about 10-15% of all emergency department visits have falls as the main cause. More than 50% of all injury-related hospitalisations due to falls come from people aged 65 and above. According to David Goding, Director of Morris Goding Access Consulting (MGAC), a consultancy that provides expert advice on all areas of building accessibility, there is nothing surprising about these figures.

A fall is preventable

“The number of fall incidents for the elderly could be substantially reduced by making simple adjustments in the home,” said David Goding. “The more risk factors in the home, the more likely an elderly person will fall. Minimising risk factors can be as simple as fixing hand rails in the shower, using rubber bath mats, increasing adequate lighting or checking that chair legs are stable.”

“Preventative measures are essential to wellbeing in older age. I highly recommend that anyone with concerns about themselves or a loved one, to seek an expert to review the home environment and make recommendations about changes that will reduce their risk of falls – preferably before an accident happens,” said Goding.

Tips on how to prevent falls:

Based on the data, if you are a senior or aged resident living at home, you are more likely to be at risk of a fall. Medical conditions and physical changes simply make you more vulnerable to falling.

Here are some simple tips to help you prevent falls:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If rising up to get something becomes harder, ask a housemate to get it for you or accompany you.
  • Wear the right footwear. Your fall-prevention plan starts with the right gear. Ditch those slippery shoes and wear something comfortable, yet sturdy, with non-skid soles.
  • Stretch those muscles. As long as you have your doctor’s approval, you can do gentle exercises that will improve your balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility.
  • Keep your walkways clean and free from obstruction. Hallways and stairways should be free from clutter, electrical cords, and loose rugs.
  • Use proper lighting. Stay away from dim lights to avoid tripping over hard-to-see objects. Keep your home brightly lit at all times.
  • Use assistive devices. A cane or a walker can help you keep steady while walking.

Repeated falls by an elderly person can be a sign to the family that they may need aged care. If you are in Adelaide and think your relative may need aged care soon, please feel free to contact us for help on aged care admission in South Australia.

Regards, Carmela

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