Fall Prevention for Older People

Introduction

Fall prevention guidelines and techniques are important to be spread among older patients because of the high risks of injuries. According to the national statistics, annually, more than one million older individuals fall when being at home (Moreland et al., 2020). The situation can lead to multiple traumas and injuries in older people, their further dependence on caregivers, the development of depression and anxiety because of the loss of autonomy, and the impossibility to move without help (Huston, 2019). It is important to reduce risks of falling at home for older patients and prevent injuries with the help of following certain safe practices and making adjustments in houses. In this pamphlet, there are useful tips and recommendations regarding the prevention of falls for older patients, information for caregivers, and contacts of local organizations.

Factors That Affect Falls in the Older Population

In order to effectively prevent falls at home, it is necessary to focus on some risk factors. They include physical changes in the body of older people that lead to muscular degeneration, the development of arthritis and osteoarthritis, stiff joints, and the development of osteoporosis. Furthermore, those older individuals who suffer from heart diseases, hypertension, and hypotension can often demonstrate signs of dizziness (Moreland, 2020). They can also suffer from unsteadiness and may lose their consciousness. In addition, possible visual impairment and dementia can cause problems with orienting in environments, and these conditions can also lead to falls (Shakya et al., 2020). Other critical factors include mess at home that prevents from walking easily, broken and unsafe pieces of furniture, unsafe staircases, inappropriate lighting, and non-adjusted spaces in bathrooms and kitchens.

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Five Tips for Preventing Falls at Home

Exercising

In order to strengthen joints and muscles, it is necessary to do exercises that are adapted for older people and oriented toward balance training. It is also important to use physiotherapy, especially, if there are cases of falling and associated injuries in the past (Moreland et al., 2020).

Reviewing Taken Medications

The issue is that many drugs can have adverse effects that provoke dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, fatigue, and problems with vision. As a result, if these symptoms are observed, it is necessary to contact physicians and adjust the dosage or change the medication to take (Huston, 2019).

Reorganizing the House

It is important to reorganize all the belongings in an appropriate way in order to guarantee that minimum efforts and movements are required to find and take this or that piece. Furthermore, it is also necessary to reorganize dishes and utensils in a kitchen in order to avoid risks associated with using upper cabinets (Huston, 2019). Thus, much attention should be paid to guaranteeing safety for older people.

Adjusting All the Spaces

Spaces of bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms need to be carefully adjusted and re-arranged in order to help older people effectively walk and move in the house. The use of support railings in different rooms can be a necessity, and this device will easily prevent older individuals from falling. Furthermore, it is also necessary to work on making environments less messy and more organized, to guarantee that there are wide paths for older people who can use specific assistance devices (Shakya et al., 2020). Additionally, it is also important to change lighting scenarios in the house to make them more comfortable for people who can have impaired vision.

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Making Stairs Safe

The highest risks of falls are associated with using stairs that are not properly adjusted to address older users’ needs. If it is possible, it is important to integrate an efficient stairlift for older individuals. In addition, it is necessary to add handrails to the two sides of the stairs. Older people are required to use handrails when going up or down (Moreland, 2020). Furthermore, the lighting of the space near the stairs should also be good and quite bright

Information for Caregivers

Caregivers play a critical role in ensuring that the home environments of their older relatives and friends become safe and appropriate for walking easily, without a risk of falling. Therefore, there are several recommendations to be followed by caregivers in order to contribute to older patients’ safety:

It is important to accompany older people when they visit physicians and contact with healthcare providers in order to collect information on patients’ conditions, treatment plans, required adjustments in daily routines and environments, and possible adverse effects of prescribed medications (Moreland et al., 2020).

Caregivers should help older people to choose devices for walking to improve their mobility. These devices usually include canes, crutches, and walkers, the use of which significantly improves the quality of life of older patients.

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Caregivers should help older persons in cleaning and re-organizing their houses and apartments to make them more comfortable. Much attention should be paid to fixing pieces of furniture if it is necessary and to improve the stairs and the space around them (Huston, 2019).

It is also important for caregivers to insist on purchasing such devices as non-skid mats and railings for hands, as well as night lights, to ensure that all the spaces are safe for older people. Furthermore, it is necessary to remove all the wires for electronic devices that can prevent individuals from walking in the house.

Caregivers should understand that they can significantly contribute to making the space of living safer for older people. Furthermore, older individuals need to know whom they can contact when they have certain needs or experience problems with walking in their house or apartment.

Local Community Resources

In Miami-Dade County, Florida, there are several organizations that provide fall prevention services to older people. It is important to focus on this list:

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  • Active Senior Care, Miami;
  • Visiting Angels;
  • Assisting Hands Home Care.

These organizations provide services of caregivers and consultation of specialists who can aid in resolving the problem of falling at home. One more official organization is the Violence and Injury Prevention Section of the Florida Department of Health, the professionals of which can provide support for older people who have received injuries because of falls. The work of these organizations is important to support the interests of both older people and their caregivers as they have an opportunity to receive qualified assistance and guidelines to prevent falling at home or injuries.

Conclusion

In most cases, strategies associated with fall prevention in older people are primarily oriented toward preventing injuries in this population. Older people and their caregivers must be informed regarding all the available approaches to ensuring that walking in apartments and houses is as safe as possible. Therefore, much attention should be paid to making necessary arrangements to add railings and other assistive devices to older people’s homes.

References

Huston, C. J. (2019). Professional issues in nursing: Challenges and opportunities (5th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

Moreland, B. (2020). Trends in nonfatal falls and fall-related injuries among adults aged≥ 65 years—United States, 2012–2018. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(27), 875–881. Web.

Huston, C. J. (2019). Professional issues in nursing: Challenges and opportunities (5th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

Moreland, B. L., Kakara, R., Haddad, Y. K., Shakya, I., & Bergen, G. (2020). A descriptive analysis of location of older adult falls that resulted in emergency department visits in the United States, 2015. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 8. Web.

Shakya, I., Bergen, G., Haddad, Y. K., Kakara, R., & Moreland, B. L. (2020). Fall- related emergency department visits involving alcohol among older adults. Journal of Safety Research, 74, 125-131. Web.

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