Preventing Falls Among the Elderly
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Jun 18, 2009 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Falls in the elderly can have serious consequences. We have seen many cases of falls at nursing homes that could've been avoided or prevented. We have also seen many residents die as a result of fractures and brain injuries caused by a fall. In fact, the Wisconsin Nursing Homes and Residents annual report shows that 24% of nursing home residents have fallen in the past 30 days, and 26% had fallen in the past 31 days to 180 days.
Here are some steps from the American Academy of Family Physicians that you can take to minimize the risk of falls:
First, be sure your home is as safe as possible.
- Wear shoes with nonskid soles (not house slippers).
- Be sure your home is well lit so that you can see things you might trip over.
- Use night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways.
- Remove throw rugs or fasten them to the floor with carpet tape. Tack down carpet edges.
- Dont put electrical cords across pathways.
- Have grab bars put in your bathtub, shower and toilet area.
- Have handrails put on both sides of stairways.
- Dont climb on stools and stepladders. Get someone else to help with jobs that call for climbing.
- Dont wax your floors at all, or use a non-skid wax.
- Have sidewalks and walkways repaired so that surfaces are smooth and even.
Next, get regular check-ups from your doctor, and take good care of yourself:
- Have your eyes checked every year for vision changes, cataracts, glaucoma and other eye problems.
- Have your hearing checked every two years, or anytime you or others think that you cant hear well.
- See your doctor if you have foot pain or corns, or if you cant trim your toenails well. Sore feet could make you fall.
- See your doctor right away if you feel dizzy, weak or unsteady on your feet, if you feel confused, or if you fall.
- Let your doctor know if a medicine is making you feel dizzy or making you lose your balance.
- If your doctor wants you to use a cane or a walker, learn how to use it and then use it all the time.
- When you get up from bed during the night or in the morning, sit on the side of the bed for a minute or two before you stand up. This will give your blood pressure time to adjust, and you will feel less dizzy.
- If you need to go to the bathroom often at night, consider using a bedside commode.
- And keep your body in good shape:
- Get regular exercise, especially walking.
- Do exercises to strengthen the muscles you use for walking and lifting.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks or less a day.