35 Useful Tips to Prevent Falls in Elderly
With increasing age and the need for care, risk factors for falls increase. These include decreased muscle strength, poor eyesight, sleep problems and daytime sleepiness, incontinence and dizziness. In addition, external factors influence the risk of falling: poor lighting, tripping hazards, new glasses or an unfamiliar environment.
And certain drugs also increase the risk of falling, such as anti-hypertensive drugs, for calming down and for sleeping. In addition, fear, restlessness and a disturbed sense of balance are significant fall risk factors, especially for people with dementia. In addition: They can no longer assess dangers so well because their perception and attention are impaired.
Possible consequences of falls are, for example, wounds, bruises or broken bones. After serious injuries such as a fracture of the femur, the need for help increases. In the worst case, the consequences of a fall can even lead to death.
A fall can make you feel insecure and fearful of falling again. If movement is avoided for this reason, muscle strength and a sense of balance decline. This in turn increases the risk of falling.
In addition, the restricted mobility can significantly impair the quality of life. For example, if this means that social contacts and some everyday activities are eliminated.
Many risk factors for falls, such as a lack of muscle strength and limited mobility, are exacerbated by a lack of exercise. It is therefore important to stay mobile as possible.
In this article, we offer numerous tips (more than 30 actually) on how to prevent falls in elderly people. The tips are not numbered but given as bullet points clustered in sections.
Keep reminding the person in need of care of the importance of exercise. Motivate them to do as much as possible yourself, for example with personal hygiene. Let the person in need of care do household chores that they can and would like to do.
Move together. If possible, take regular walks in the fresh air.
Encourage movement exercises. Exercises that specifically train balance, gait and muscle strength can reduce the risk of falling. Let experts show you suitable exercises .
Practice movement sequences together that the person in need of care is unsure of. For example: getting up, reaching the toilet chair at night or steering the rollator .
Avoid anything that restricts movement, such as bed rails or belts, if possible. Such so-called liberty deprivation measures (FEM) can cause anxiety, stress and injuries. The person in need of care could, for example, become trapped in the bed rail or fall when climbing over it. In addition, muscle strength decreases due to a lack of exercise and the risk of falling increases.
Create a safe environment
Small adjustments in the apartment are often enough to reduce the risk of tripping and falling.
Make sure there is enough light. At night, lamps with motion detectors are helpful.
Keep walking paths clear. Eliminate tripping hazards, e.g. B. Cable.
Mark thresholds and steps particularly conspicuously.
Make sure there is enough space to move around with a rollator or wheelchair. Move furniture if necessary.
Have grab handles or handrails attached properly. Remind the resident to hold on to it.
Make sure the floor is level and not smooth. Use non-slip floor mats or carpets. If necessary, attach carpet edges, mats and rugs to the floor.
Avoid getting wet on the floor. Use non-slip step mats in the bathroom.
Make sure that everything that is needed is easily accessible, e.g. B. light switches, bedside tables, clothing, dishes, food and drinks as well as aids such as glasses or walking frames.
To sleep, make the bed as low as possible if there is a risk of falling out.
A lack of fluids, for example, can lead to weakness, circulatory problems, drowsiness and even confusion. Then there is a risk of falling. You can find out how you can encourage drinking enough under the tips against dehydration .
Aids can contribute to more security. It is important to use them correctly.
Make sure that glasses and hearing aids, if available, are used to identify and avoid hazards. Eyes and ears should be checked regularly.
Make sure that assistants are readily available and functional.
Practice the safe use of walking aids, e.g. B. with a rollator.
Apply the brakes on aids if they are not to be moved.
Adjust the height of the seating furniture and the bed appropriately. Use z. B. Seat pads and a care bed. This makes it easier to sit down and get up.
Use a raised toilet seat and a shower stool or bath lift in the bathroom.
Put a commode chair next to the bed at night.
Use aids to minimize injuries in the event of a fall: for example, place a fall mat in front of the bed.
Use technical aids such as fall detectors or sensor mats that detect a fall. Help can come quickly.
Clothes that are too loose or too long and shoes that are too loose can quickly become a tripping hazard. In addition, practical, comfortable and well-fitting clothing is important for mobility.
Make sure that the shoes offer a firm hold. They should be closed at the back and have a flat, non-slip sole. Shoes with Velcro are practical.
Make sure that the clothing fits well and does not slide off. Otherwise you could get stuck or stumble.
If you have bladder or bowel weakness, choose clothing that is easy to put on and take off.
Obtain professional advice
Risks and causes of falls are individual and not always easy to identify. That is why it can make sense to get professional advice on fall prevention. This is also advisable in order to implement measures in a technically correct manner.
Notice how drugs work. Do you feel tired or drowsy? Do they cause an acute urge to urinate? Do they cause temporary confusion? Seek medical advice if you experience side effects that may increase the risk of falling.
Ask professionals how you can support flexibility and which exercises are suitable. For example, contact your family doctor or physiotherapy. Let yourself be guided in movement training. Create an exercise plan together. Daily activities are noted in it.
Get advice on walking aids, such as a rollator. To do this, contact a nursing service, a medical supply store, health insurance company or private long-term care insurance.
Let us advise you on the safe design of the home and the use of aids.
After a fall, find out what led to it, e.g. B. poor vision, dizziness or unsteadiness when walking. Get medical or nursing advice on this. Also, get a medical examination if you experience pain or injury from a fall.
Changed movements can be challenging for people with dementia. Since the disease affects short-term memory, this can lead to the person suffering from dementia not understanding measures, repeatedly forgetting or being unsettled by them. This sometimes makes it difficult for her to orientate herself, to remember tripping hazards or the use of aids.
Place important objects such as walking aids, glasses, telephones or wallets in familiar places and clearly visible on a single-colored surface. A person with dementia can find their way around better in a familiar home.
Maintain the usual order and routines. That conveys security. Consider changes such as moving furniture carefully.
If possible, avoid reflections from glass and metallic effects, for example in the shower. They can flicker and become frightening. In this case, hang a mirror e.g. B. with cloths.
Illuminate shadows in rooms. Shadows can be misperceived by people with dementia or mistaken for edges or holes.
Avoid escalators or tall stairs. Use the elevator instead.
Block out risky areas such as stairs or fuse boxes if the person with dementia cannot use them alone, for example with a laundry basket.
Get advice from professionals on appropriate cognitive training. This could improve walking, alertness, or dealing with assistants.
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