Falls Prevention in Older People

Published: 22/05/2019

Falls are one of the biggest causes of death and injury in older people. Our latest Bluebird Care Clapham and Streatham blog looks at falls prevention in the home.

According to Age UK, more than 3 million people over the age of 65 experience falls that can result in serious injury or death. As such, falls prevention in the home is an important issue that we address as part of our homecare risk assessments. Here, we look at some of the most common causes of falls and what you can do to lower your risk of taking a tumble at home.

Health conditions or side-effects of medication that cause dizziness and poor balance
There are a number of health issues that can cause dizziness – from not eating enough and dehydration to more serious conditions like Meniere’s or Parkinson’s disease. Some medications can also affect your balance. If you know why you’re feeling dizzy, you can take precautions to manage your symptoms, like using a walking aid or having a carer help you. If you don’t know why you’re feeling dizzy, it’s best to get a check up from the doctor to find the underlying cause and get it sorted before it becomes a problem.

Worn or badly-fitting footwear
Even if they’re your favourite pair of comfy slippers, if they don’t quite fit anymore, have holes in them or the sole is on its way out, ditch them! Badly-fitting or faulty footwear is surprisingly dangerous. Choosing a shoe or slipper that’s comfortable, supports your foot properly and has a good grip on the sole goes a long way towards keeping you upright. 

Being unable to see properly
Anyone who wears specs knows how easy it is to leave them all over the house, but if you need them to see well when you’re moving around, make sure you put them on before you get going. Another hazard is poor lighting. To lower your risk of tripping over something you failed to spot, use bulbs with a high enough wattage, have easily accessible light switches and turn them on when you’re on the move.

Having the wrong furniture
Getting up from a chair or your bed is one of the moments during your day that could end in a fall if you’re not careful. If furniture is at the wrong height, it’s easy to overbalance and lose your footing when standing up or sitting down. Make sure the furniture you’re using is right for your particular circumstances and use bolster cushions and chair raisers where necessary.

Worn, uneven flooring and rugs
Most of us have been caught out by the upturned corner of a rug or a sudden dip in the floor, but they’re something that really can send you sprawling. So, if you’ve got a wobbly floorboard, peeling lino or slippery rugs around your home, get them fixed, replaced or thrown away before they trip you up. If you can’t part with your favourite rug, there are grips available to secure them to the floor for safety.

Clutter on the floor
We’ve all got a bit of clutter here and there at home, but making sure that the main routes through the house (particularly the stairs) are free of debris is a sensible move. Discarded shoes or clothes, books, the grandchildren’s toys and electrical wires are a few of the common culprits that can cause an accident. If you have pets, don’t forget to look out for them as they have an incredible knack of getting under your feet!

Reaching for inaccessible things
Stretching too far to reach something on a high shelf or the floor can be risky, especially if your balance already isn’t great. Keep things as accessible as possible so they’re within easy reach and invest in a grabbing aid that can get into those awkward places.

Not using occupational aids
Some people are reluctant to use walking aids or grab rails, but they really can help you get around the house more safely. Rails on the stairs or next to the bath and toilet make getting up and down easier, and a walking stick or frame can give you that extra stability you need. If you’re disabled, you can apply for help with home adaptations or walking aids
 

Helping Prevent Falls with Quality Homecare

At Bluebird Care Clapham and Streatham, keeping our Customers and Care Assistants safe is our number one priority. That's why we take great care to look at the safety of every environment we work in to see how we can reduce the risk of anyone falling and hurting themselves.

If you’d like to talk to us about our private care services and how we could help you live more comfortably at home, get in touch with our team online or give us a call on 020 8677 6665.