In last week’s blog, we highlighted the fact that slips and falls are very serious matters for our elderly loved ones. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injuries among Canadians who are aged 65 and over. As well, they report that falls account for 85 percent of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors, making them the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions.
Perhaps, these statistics come as no surprise. It’s natural to assume that, as we age, we will lose some strength and balance. But it’s important to remember that, in our later years, we aren’t as quick to heal when we get injured. Slips and falls, therefore, should not be regarded with the “no big deal” attitude we may have when a young person trips or stumbles. For our elderly loved ones, slips and falls are no laughing matter. So, it’s important to watch out for the main culprits of slips and falls for seniors.
It should come as no surprise to any reader of the Advantage Home Health Solutions Blog that bathrooms present numerous hazards to our elderly loved ones. Their smooth and often wet surfaces are practically made for causing slips and falls. “Properly placed grab bars in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet, can make a world of difference in maintaining stability,” informs Nira Rittenburg in The Toronto Star.
These floor coverings tend to bunch up and create tripping hazards. In fact, you don’t need to be elderly in order for a throw rug to cause a stumble to the floor. “Although you may ‘know they are there,’ these rugs are often easy to trip or slip on,” says Rittenburg, “If they can be removed, they should be. If not, use double-sided tape to hold the edges down to the floor and ensure they don’t slip underfoot.”
It’s highly advised that seniors have easy-to-reach lamps on their bedside tables. That way, when they get out of bed in the middle of the night, they can be assured of having lights to guide their ways. Good lighting, however, is required all over a senior’s home, in order promote his/her safety “especially in transition areas like entrances and stairs,” says Rittenburg.
A fear of falling.
Believe it or not, the more afraid we become of the prospect of falling down, the more prone we will be to losing our balance. It may sound strange, but it’s true. The Public Health Agency of Canada points out that seniors who avoid activity for fear of injury only weaken themselves. “Seniors who fall may limit their activities for fear of falling again,” they note, “Yet by limiting activities, they are likely to lose strength and flexibility and increase their risk of falling again. Maintaining physical activity is essential if you wish to prevent falls and injury.”
Rittenberg also informs us that decreased activity is a culprit of falls because it weakens the muscles. “Research has shown that people fall for a variety of reasons such as, muscle weakness in the legs and changes in gait patterns as people age, which can be due to lack of exercise, arthritis or neurological causes,” she writes, “Changes in blood pressure, especially when standing up, dehydration and certain medications can also increase one’s risk of falling.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we offer an extensive list of accessibility devices that help to make the homes of seniors safer. For the bathroom, they include grab bars, bath chairs, bath lifts and transfer benches. For the bedroom, we also have super poles, bed rails, M-rails and ceiling lifts. If you have any questions about any of these safety solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask them.
Give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact Us page!