Maintaining independence by preventing falls
Whilst anyone can have a fall, older people are more vulnerable with a higher chance of falling, particularly if they are living with an on-going health condition or are impacted by mobility/frailty issues. Falls in older people are common – in the over 65s, one in three adults will have a fall in their home at least once a year. Half of these people will have frequent falls. Whilst most falls do not cause serious injury, the impact of falling can lead to broken bones and can have a detrimental impact on a person’s confidence, which in turn affects their independence. It is therefore important that risks are assessed, and a plan put in place that ensures you are preventing falls.
Preventing falls – understanding why you might fall
There are several reasons and conditions that cause an older person to fall:
- Muscle weakness that naturally occurs in older age
- Stiff joints caused by conditions like arthritis
- Conditions like Parkinson’s and dementia present a greater risk of falling
- Tiredness experienced in older age
- Effects of medication
- Changes in blood pressure
- Heart conditions
- Problems with hearing that affect your balance
The NHS has a useful falls risk assessment which can help with preventing falls.
What you can do to help with falls prevention
It is important in preventing falls that you do some simple things regularly that can reduce the risk:
Hearing and sight check
You should have a hearing and sight check regularly, at a minimum every two years. This will identify any problems that could affect your balance and overall health.
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
Ensure that you have a well-balance diet that is focused on keeping your bones strong as this will help with preventing falls. Food rich in calcium, such as milk and cheese should be consumed as part of your diet, as well as oily fish like tuna or sardines as they contain Vitamin D whkoich promotes bone strength.
Keeping mobile and exercising
Making sure you keep physically active and take part in moderate frequent exercise is a good strategy for preventing falls in older people. Exercise improves muscle strength and overall balance. Walking and swimming are good exercises for those in their later years, with many profound benefits. It is advisable if you have not exercised in a while that you consult your GP first.
Make sure you keep your toenails trimmed so that you do not have any problems that could affect your balance.
Preventing falls at home
There are several measures you can take in and around your home that will avoid falls by reducing the risks:
- Organise your home, so you do not need to unnecessarily climb, bend or stretch.
- Never use chairs to stand on to get something from up high – invest in a suitable step ladder or get someone to help you.
- Rugs or frayed carpet can cause you to trip and fall. Make sure you use a non-slip mat under all rugs and keep on top of carpet care.
- Ensure you do not have any electrical cables that are visible that could trip you over.
- If you spill something in the home, make sure it is mopped up immediately.
- Declutter your home especially areas, like hallways that you travel through often.
- Ensure your home is well-lit.
Home is best for preventing falls
We understand the challenges people face in older age and we have been caring for people and preventing falls for over 10 years. Receiving high-quality care and support in the safety and familiarity of your own home from a trained professional carer has far reaching benefits in maintaining independence and over well-being to those who a prone to falling. Hip fractures are the most common injury sustained through falling. According to a survey by the Live-In Care Hub in 2017, a person living in a care home has a 3.2% chance of having a hip fracture within any one year compared to a person who is receiving live-in care who only has a 1.7% chance. One-to-one personalised care simply cannot be achieved in a care home.
Why choose The Good Care Group for preventing falls?
There are many compelling reasons to use The Good Care Group for high-quality live-in care for those who need help preventing falls:
OT-led care at home
In house expert
We provide an OT-led live-in care service to help those with preventing falls and to overcome the challenges posed by permanent or temporary loss or lack of physical, sensory or communication function. Uniquely in live-in care, we have an in-house Occupational Therapist in our team who provides expert advice and guidance to those who wish to stay living at home. Our Occupational Therapist provides our clients with the support they need to live safely and well at home, with all the equipment and any home adaptations they need to help them to live a fulling life, as independently as possible whilst preventing falls.
Our OT will work closely with our care teams and other healthcare professionals involved in delivering care, including hospital discharge planners, GPs, district nurses and physiotherapists to ensure all health needs are met through a holistic approach to care planning.
When could you benefit from our OT-led care service for preventing falls?
- To recover from an injury following a fall when additional support is needed to improve independence
- To rehabilitate following discharge from hospital or a care home after a fall
- When coping with frailty and mobility issues that impact safe movement
- If you are experiencing cognitive or memory problems including those living with dementia that are contributing to you falling
Proven in preventing falls
In England alone, 30% of people over the age of 65 fall at least once a year and for those 80 and over it is 50%. By comparison, only 7% of our clients aged 65 and over fell at least once, and that was only 6% for those aged 80 or over.
Our clients are seven times less likely to suffer a serious injury as a result of a fall than residents living in a residential care home. This is a result of our quality one-to-one care, which just cannot be achieved in even the very best care home, and our effective personalised falls management programmes.
Working with our in-house Occupational Therapist, we identify clients who are ‘frequent fallers’ and through an intensive and personalised approach to falls management these clients experienced 47% fewer falls from being in our care.
How our OT-led service for preventing falls works
Our OT-led service starts with a specialist assessment of your current physical or cognitive health to truly understand the main concerns, risks and problems that impact your day-to-day ability to function and live well.
Our assessment will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach working with other healthcare professionals involved in your care. Our OT can either complete the assessment at home or in hospital if you are awaiting discharge.
A written report will be provided with the outcomes and recommendations from the assessment together with personal goals for improvements which are then incorporated into your care plan. It does not stop there. Our OT will work with our care team to support and review the care being provided.