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7 Falls Prevention Strategies for Seniors

Updated: Sep 27


Older lady fallen over on the bathroom floor

Falls can lead to serious injuries, especially in older adults. However, with straightforward falls prevention measures, you can significantly reduce the risk and maintain a high quality of life.


This article explores risk factors for falls and outlines 7 effective fall prevention strategies to ensure a safe environment for seniors at home.


Additionally, we'll introduce a solution that can help prevent fall-related injuries: the HipSaver.


Quick Guide to Preventing Falls for Seniors

  1. Regular Health Assessments

  2. Engaging in Physical Activity

  3. Wearing Suitable Footwear

  4. Removing Home Hazards

  5. Enhancing Home Lighting

  6. Utilising Supportive Devices

  7. Having Vision Checked

We will look at this list in in more detail further along.

 

Falls in Australia: A Summary


Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in Older People: Best practice Guidelines for Australian Hospitals presents the following facts in relation to falls risk, fall related fractures and other injuries.

  • Prevalence and Incidence: Falls are prevalent among older Australians, especially those aged 65 and over, with nearly 30% facing the issue of falls each year.

  • Underlying Causes: A decline in physical fitness, certain medications, alcohol consumption, and vision problems significantly contribute to the risk of falling.

  • Hospital Environment: The incidence of falls spikes upon hospital admission, often occurring in the bedroom or during unsupervised moments.

  • Injury and Consequences: Falls primarily result in bone fractures and head injuries, extending hospital stays and necessitating additional medical interventions.

  • Risk Factors: Identified risk factors are categorised into intrinsic (personal) and extrinsic (environmental), including past fall history, muscle weakness, and environmental hazards.

person with slippers tripping over on rug

Risk Factors for Falls


Understanding the risk factors for falls is the initial step towards prevention. Common risk factors among older people include:

  • Age-related changes: Reduced muscle strength, balance problems, and age-related health conditions can significantly increase the risk of falls.

  • Medication side effects: Some medications can cause dizziness or sudden blood pressure drops, affecting stability.

  • Improper footwear: Wearing loose slippers or shoes with smooth soles can heighten the risk of slipping.

  • Vision problems: Severe visual impairment might hide potential dangers, contributing to the risk of falling.

  • Lack of physical activity: Physical inactivity leads to weak muscles and inflexible joints.

  • Health conditions: Conditions like cognitive impairment or other medical problems may affect balance and coordination.

 

lamp on wall to light the bedroom

7 Fall Prevention Strategies to Avoid Falls


1. Health Condition Assessment


Discussing your current health conditions with family members and your General Practitioner (GP) is crucial. Healthcare professionals may conduct assessments of muscle strength, balance, and gait to better understand your falls risk.


Collaborative approaches involving health professionals are essential in reducing the likelihood of falls.


2. Stay Active and Mobile to Help Prevent Falls


Engaging in physical activity plays a pivotal role in fall prevention.

With the approval of your healthcare provider, contemplate incorporating activities like walking, aquatic exercises, or tai chi into your routine to improve balance and support strength training.


You can even opt for chair exercises with a sturdy chair - check out these simple sitting exercise program to improve mobility and remain active.


If you are concerned that walking or exercises might actually increase the risk of falling, it's important to communicate this to your GP or carer.


3. Choose the Right Footwear


Steer clear of high heels, loose slippers, or shoes with slick soles as they heighten the risk of falling. Instead, opt for well-fitted, sturdy shoes with non-slip material soles for enhanced stability. Here are some characteristics of safe footwear:

  • Soles: Shoes with thinner, firmer soles improve foot position sense, and a tread sole can prevent slips on slippery surfaces.

  • Heels: A low, square heel enhances stability.

  • Collar: Shoes with a supporting collar improve stability.

If necessary, a referral to a podiatrist can provide additional guidance.


4. Home Safety Modifications


Have a friend conduct a thorough assessment of your home to identify and rectify potential fall hazards. To ensure safety of your living space, consider the following measures:

  • Removing clutter like boxes and electrical cords from walkways.

  • Repositioning furniture away from high-traffic areas. Things like coffee tables, magazine racks, and plant stands from high-traffic areas.

  • Securing , and repairing any .

  • Keep clothing, dishes, and food within easy reach to prevent extra stretching.

  • Immediately attend to spills of liquids, grease, or food to prevent slippery surfaces.

  • Enhance bathroom safety by using nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Consider using a bath seat that allows you to sit while showering.

5. Optimise Lighting


Ensure your home is well-illuminated to prevent tripping over objects.


Night Lights: Place night lights in key areas such as your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.


Bedside Lamp: Keep a lamp within easy reach of your bed, enabling you to illuminate your surroundings if you need to get up during the night.


Accessible Light Switches: Create clear pathways to light switches that may not be conveniently located near room entrances.


Stair Safety: Whether it be a staircase or 1 step, always turn on the lights before ascending or descending.


Emergency Lighting: Store flashlights in easily accessible locations throughout your home to prepare for power outages or emergencies.


6. Utilise Supportive Devices or Walkers


Your GP or occupational therapist may suggest the use of a cane or walker to enhance your

walker with wheels

stability and balance. Additionally, there are various other supportive tools and equipment that can be beneficial, including:


Handrails for Stairways: Handrails on both sides of stairways provide secure support when ascending or descending.


Nonslip Treads: Apply nonslip treads to bare-wood steps to reduce the risk of slipping.


Toilet Enhancements: Consider using a raised toilet seat or one equipped with armrests to facilitate easier up and down movement.


Shower & Bath Safety: Install grab bars in the shower or bath area to provide stability. A seat designed for bathing, along with a hand-held shower nozzle, enables comfortable and secure bathing while seated.



7. Having Vision Checked


Good vision is crucial in preventing falls. Ensure seniors:

  • Wear their glasses if they use them, ensuring they are clean, unscratched, and well-fitted.

  • Label spectacles for reading and distance accurately, wearing the latter when walking around.

  • Seek assistance when moving away from their immediate bed surrounds if vision is impaired.

 

Preventing Fall Injuries


Woman wearing padded HipSaver shorts

HipSaver: A Smart Choice for Hip Protection


HipSaver is a great way to reduce injuries from falls.


These soft, comfy hip protectors are made to keep seniors moving easily, whether they live on their own or in residential aged care facilities.


The simplicity and comfort of HipSaver make it a popular choice. It comes in different designs to fit various needs, making it suitable for individuals, group homes, nursing homes, and other places.


Here are the key benefits of wearing a HipSaver:

  • Hip Injury Prevention: HipSaver helps prevent hip fractures and other injuries from falls. This excellent product range allows elderly individuals and others who are prone to falls to move around confidently and comfortably throughout the day.

  • Comfortable Design: HipSaver products are very soft and comfortable to wear while offering top-notch protection, which makes them a user-friendly option.

  • Variety of Designs: There's a HipSaver for everyone, from seniors in nursing homes to those engaging in exercise programs and even active pursuits like jogging.

  • Tested Effectiveness: The effectiveness of HipSaver has been proven in tests and randomised controlled trials. The HipSaver AirPad™ provides better impact absorption, reducing the force from a fall by up to 20% more than hard shell protectors.

  • Easy to Clean: HipSaver can handle high laundry temperatures, which means they can be washed and dried at up to 95°C. This is great for keeping things clean and controlling infection, especially in busy settings.

  • Thoroughly Researched and Tested: The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) endorsement shows that HipSaver is a trustworthy and high-quality product. Products endorsed by the APA go through a tough review process, so you know you're getting a safe and effective product with HipSaver.

Including HipSaver in falls prevention interventions is a smart move to create a safer environment for older adults and significantly lessen the bad outcomes of falls.


 

Additional Interventions for Fall Prevention


Medication Review


Regular medication reviews with your healthcare provider can identify any drugs that might contribute to dizziness or drowsiness, subsequently adjusting doses to prevent future falls.


Balance and Strength Exercises


Participate in effective exercise programs focused on balance and muscle strength, under the guidance of a physical therapist.


Community and Healthcare Support


Engaging with community groups and healthcare professionals can provide valuable support and education on fall prevention.


Education and Awareness


Educate family members and caregivers on the importance of falls prevention interventions, and how they can play a part in reducing the risk of falls and other injuries.


By addressing the risk factors for falls and implementing the fall prevention strategies outlined above, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falls and related injuries.


With solutions like HipSaver, maintaining an active, independent lifestyle while minimising fall risks has never been easier.


Stay proactive about fall prevention and consult with healthcare professionals for tailored advice to ensure a safe, comfortable living environment.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Fall Prevention


What are fall prevention strategies for dementia?


Individuals with dementia often experience an increased risk of falling due to cognitive impairment, memory issues, and sometimes, physical limitations. Here are some tailored fall prevention strategies for individuals with dementia:


Environment Modification:

  • Create clear, uncluttered pathways and remove trip hazards like loose floor mats and cables.

  • Install handrails and grab bars in critical areas like stairways, bathrooms, and hallways.

Routine and Supervision:

  • Establish a consistent daily routine to reduce confusion.

  • Ensure supervision especially during risk-prone activities.

Medication Management:

  • Have a medication review to ensure prescriptions do not contribute to dizziness or blood pressure drops.

Regular Health Checks:

  • Regular visits to healthcare professionals to monitor the overall health and mobility.

Supportive Footwear:

  • Encourage wearing supportive, non-slip shoes to prevent slips and falls.

Mindful Communication:

  • Use clear, simple instructions and reassurance to help the individual move safely.


How do balance exercises prevent falling?


Balance exercises are a cornerstone in fall prevention as they help improve stability, coordination, and muscle strength, reducing the risk of falling. Here's how they help:


Improved Stability:

  • By challenging the body’s ability to maintain its center of gravity, balance exercises enhance stability during both static and dynamic activities.

Muscle Strength and Flexibility:

  • Balance exercises often engage key muscle groups and joints, improving strength and flexibility which are crucial for safe movement.

Enhanced Coordination:

  • They help to fine-tune coordination between the muscular and nervous systems, allowing for better reaction and recovery during accidental trips or stumbles.

Increased Awareness:

  • Practising balance exercises can also improve proprioception, the awareness of the body’s position in space, crucial for preventing falls.

Customised Routine:

  • Health professionals or physical therapists can design balance exercise programs tailored to individual needs, ensuring they are both effective and safe.

Community Engagement:

  • Joining group exercise programs can also offer a social aspect, making the training enjoyable and sustainable.


Balance exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, or even simple standing exercises, can be incorporated into daily routines, often with the guidance of healthcare professionals to ensure they are performed safely and effectively.

 

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational, educational, and entertainment purposes only. We are not medical professionals and the information should not be considered as professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice and treatment.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through these links. We recommend products and services because we believe they are of value to our readers, not because of the commissions we may earn.

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