Sunday, September 25, 2011

Falls in the elderly: Prevention

Now we will deal with simple things in the household to prevent accidents that may lead the elderly people to lose balance. Also included are some things to consider to do when you have them checked by their physician.

Here in the Philippines, it usually have an extended type of family structure which of course consists of the grandparents or older population. So what are those simple steps to consider.

1. Keep the wires off the floor.
Tangled wires
Usually extension cords, phone wires or internet wires, appliance wires criss-cross all over our houshold. It is thus obvious that the foot of an individual may be snagged while crossing over these wires.

2. Make sure rugs or floor mats will not cause snagging of the foot. If this is not kept flat off the floor then again catching the foot while crossing over it is very highly likely.

3. Make sure the floors are not slippery. We should reconsider if waxing and making the floor too shiny is not a potential fall factor for the elderly.

4. Use of non-skid shoes/slippers.

5. Use of night light in bedroom, stair lights. For some general "phenomenon" the elderly usually do not want to open lights going to the bathroom when they wake up at night. Again this is a potential risk for falls due to a) less ability to see in the dark b)balance and equilibrum problems c)weaker lower/upper limbs

6. Use of bedside commode instead of going to the bathroom during night time.

7. As for stairs, make sure there is contrasting colors of the steps and wall in order for them to discern the steps and not get confused or have a misstep.

8. Have their eyes checked. If only 1 eye is really able to see. i.e. cataract on 1 eye causing less vision, the depth perception of the individual is compromised.

9. Polypharmacy: Elderly individuals usually have a LOT of meds to take in the morning, lunch, evening and even in between. So try to visit their physician and ask what can be reduced or removed if possible. The potential for cross interactions is very high for multiple medicine intake that may affect their balance.

Alright, now the next blog will be some exercises that can help out the elderly. Stay tuned.
Picture c/o MS online clipart from Fotolia

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