TINA Y. GERBER
Special to the Standard
A fall can happen in an instant, tripping on uneven pavement, a patch of ice, slipping on a rug, even getting up from the bed, bath or toilet!
According to Statistics Canada, falls are the most common cause of injury among elderly people over 65. Falls can reduce the ability for seniors to remain independent. They can lead to physical and social impacts that linger well beyond their injuries, even after they have healed!
Things such as muscle weakness, stiffness, osteoporosis, poor vision, poor mobility, poor balance, poor coordination, and cognitive impairments can lead to falls that can have an enduring and devastating impact, resulting in injury, loss of mobility, and a reduced quality of life.
Older adults and family members can take these simple steps, to protect themselves and prevent a fall of a loved one.
It’s necessary to make your living area more accessible, by getting rid of fall hazards, such as rugs, cords, obstacles and clutter. Install grab bars, stair rails, and improved lighting, and consider using a walker, cane, scooter or other devices designed to prevent falls.
My Mother wears hip protectors to cushion the hips from the impact of an unexpected fall.
Fall prevention is about improving your mobility. It is important to remember exercise can improve your balance and strengthen your legs and feet. Reduced muscle strength, and increased inactivity, plus chronic health conditions, and use of prescription medications are definitely risk factors for falls among older Canadians.
I urge you to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medications that may make you more likely to fall. Have your eyes checked by an optometrist, yearly, and update your eyeglasses as needed.
Remember attempting to do activities or chores beyond your physical ability, such as, clearing snow, putting up Christmas lights, or cleaning the top shelves of cupboards can lead to a fall!
I read, "An indirect death from a fall occurs when the fall itself is not deadly, but the injuries that are sustained undermine the individual’s health so much that other diseases and illnesses prove fatal. Pneumonia and infections are often the causes of indirect deaths after a fall.”
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