A third of elderly adults will suffer a fall every single year. In other words, if you can think of three elderly people that you know, the statistical probability is that one of them falls at least once a year. That could be an elderly parent or one of your grandparents. The fall could be relatively minor, requiring a few days’ attentive care before the person fully recovers…or it could be fatal.
In America alone, 2.5 million elderly adults a year end up in emergency departments due to injuries suffered from falling. Direct medical costs from fall injuries average $34 billion per annum, with treatment for a typical fall injury likely to cost $35,000. That’s a sizeable amount to pay, even accounting for the seriousness of the injury, and with a fall victim twice as likely to suffer a recurrence as someone who hasn’t fallen, you can expect to budget for such medical costs on a more than one-off basis.
Next time you’re at home with an older person, walk around the residence and try to identify potential fall hazards. Are there rugs that aren’t secured to the ground? Are the steps on the staircase broken or uneven? Is there a pile of toys left lying around the living room floor? Is the house poorly illuminated? If the answer to any of these is yes, the chances of an elderly person falling increase automatically. Attend to any such hazards before they lead to a fatal fall.
HOME HEALTHCARE ADAPTIONS gives some great tips on how to minimize the risk of an elderly person suffering a fall. There are many actions that we can take, but the person can also be encouraged to boost their independence by completing a short yet effective chair rise exercise which improves balance and reduces their chances of falling.
You and your elders don’t have to constantly live in fear of falling. With a few simple actions, we can rise above it and stride confidently around our homes!
Michael Leavy is the Managing Director of Home Healthcare Adaptations, an Irish company providing household adaptations such as stairlifts and walk-in showers for older people. He is committed to promoting independent living in older people and has a thorough understanding of the specific needs of elderly people when it comes to adapting their homes.