Anyone can have a fall, but falls are a major health concern for older people.
Falls in older adults are the leading cause of unintentional injury in Australia. One in five cases require hospitalisation and in more severe cases can be fatal.
If someone has fallen it isn’t because they are clumsy it can be a result of; mobility changes associated with ageing, other health conditions and reduced activity. There are also some medical conditions that cause changes in the nervous system and coordination which can trigger a fall such as; Parkinson’s disease, MS and dementia.
When an older person has a fall it may not lead to injury however it can trigger a loss of confidence and lead to an ongoing fear of falling. This can lead to greater damaging effects on the body and result in an increased risk of having another fall.
However, most falls can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. Including:
● Keeping physically active by exercising for 30 minutes each day, 5 times a week. Exercise activities don’t always have to be walking, it can include dancing, tai chi, low impact group classes
● Eating a healthy and nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables ● Take vitamin D supplements
● Stand up slowly after lying down
● Ensure there is good lighting in the home environment to make it easier to see where they are going
● Wearing non-slip shoes inside at all times (including slippers!)
● Have non-slip transparent tape in bathrooms
● Remove trip hazards
Another great resource is to access fall prevention programs available in each state. These courses are designed to provide information on how to reduce the risk of falls. Individuals can complete e-learning training on different areas such as; home safety exercises and balance, medications, foot care and safe shoes. Each training is designed to give practical advice to prevent falls in everyday life or to train people who care for older Australians to understand more about falls and falls prevention.
Fall Prevention Programs
TAS- https://www.health.tas.gov.au/hospital/stay_on_your_feet QLD-https://clinicalexcellence.qld.gov.au/priority-areas/safety-and-quality/falls-prevention-health y-active-ageing