A fall, no matter whether on a flat surface or on the stairs, often has serious consequences - especially for seniors. Injuries such as spinal fractures, fractures of the femur, bruises and sprains are often the consequences of a fall. What is often forgotten, however, is the less obvious side effect - the fear of falling again.
As a result, those affected often find themselves in a kind of vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape without help and support.
Over time, the fear of falling again can develop into a kind of avoidance situation or even a complete refusal to continue to be active and to move.
Ultimately, every fall has consequences, both visible and invisible.
This avoidance attitude often leads to reduced activity which results in muscle loss. This can even lead to a reduction in life expectancy.
Falls are often associated with seniors. According to the CIHI falls are serious and certainly costly:
- In 2018, seniors accounted for more than half of all injury-related hospitalizations among Canadians
- Women made up almost two-thirds of seniors’ hospitalizations
- CIHI's data shows that 4 out of 5 injury hospitalizations involving seniors were due to falls
- Over the past 3 years, injury hospitalizations among seniors due to falls increased by 9%, or about 8,900 people, the largest increase among
hospitalizations for seniors.
But the risk of falling is not only higher for seniors, but also for people with reduced mobility.
What are the most common causes of falls?
There usually are more than just one factor that leads to a fall. It is often the combination of several factors that ultimately lead to the fall. A basic distinction is made between environmental and personal factors - also called extrinsic and intrinsic factors.
- Tripping hazards (loose cables, poorly recognizable steps, wet ground, glasses have the wrong prescription, clothes that are too loose and too long, shoes that are too big or too loose)
- Bad lighting conditions
- Slippery / smooth flooring
- Improper and / or faulty aids
- Balance / Balance Disorders
- Muscle weakness / Malnutrition
- Gait disorders / Movement restrictions
- Mental changes such as fear, depression, restlessness
- Language disorders and thus the inability to express wishes can lead to risks being taken
- Taking medication: drowsiness, restlessness
- Stroke or heart attack
- Loss of consciousness
- Impaired vision
Am I at risk?
This can be answered quickly and easily. If you answer at least one of the following questions with "Yes", you are at risk of falling.
- Have you ever fallen?
- Are you insecure about walking?
- Do you suffer from impaired vision?
So what can you do to prevent falls?
Elderly Fall prevention includes measures to prevent a fall and be aware of risk factors.
This includes the environmental and personal measures listed below, as well as training in the correct use of aids. Regular physical exercise to maintain and / or improve the balance and muscles of the person concerned are also very important.
Because: Staying active is the body's own medicine and helps to prevent falls.
As with the factors, the measures are also divided into environmental and personal.
Person-related measures are:
- Take into account diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system (e.g. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, nerve diseases etc.) as well as depression, dementia, blood pressure disorders, incontinence and visual impairments
- Train your balance
- Train the musculoskeletal system in case of walking disorders and
- Train the building up of the muscles through strength and endurance training
Environment-related measures are:
- Remove any tripping hazards (e.g. loose cables, poorly recognizable steps, wet surfaces, glasses with wrong prescriptions, clothes that are too long and loose, shoes that are too big or too loose)
- Provide adequate lighting
- Install extra handles
- Use the AssiStep stair climbing aid to safely climb the stairs
- Exercise walking with walking aids
- Make sure your shoes are well-fitted
Drug-related measures are:
- Adjust the dosage in consultation with a doctor
Remember that all measures could be suitable for you or your relatives in need of care. On the one hand, you should deal with strength and balance training, pay attention to the (side) effects of medication and, above all, eliminate all pitfalls in your home.
Isn't it safer in a nursing or retirement home?
Statistically seen it is not. People who live in institutions have a significantly higher risk of falling than people who live in a familiar environment at home. About 50% of the people who live in homes fall once a year - more than 40% even fall several times a year.
The risk is almost twice as high in the first few months after the move, because those affected are not yet familiar with the new environment.
Falls on stairs and falling prevention
There are a variety of aids to prevent falls, especially for stairs. These help you make climbing the stairs safer and help you avoid potential accidents on the stairs.
However, previous solutions often help passivize those affected and, in the worst case, make them even less secure when climbing stairs.
The AssiStep stair climbing aid helps to mobilize the user and offers the necessary safety and support when climbing stairs at home.
AssiStep is the innovative stair climbing aid developed and produced in Norway that offers the necessary safety and support that those in need when climbing stairs in their own home and is the cheaper alternative to a stair lift and helps to remain active and mobile.
Climbing the stairs on a regular basis helps increase your gait function and keeps you active and mobile. AssiStep ensures safe stair climbing in your own home - and also outside. Because regular stair training can prevent future falls by building up your muscles and your trust in your own abilities!
No permits or electrical connections are required and the AssiStep can be installed at short notice. AssiStep is a module-based system and can be installed on almost all types of stairs.