10 Top Tips for Preventing Falls
Looking after your health is vital to maintaining and retaining your independence. Ideal Home Care Solutions provides care and support to people who require assistance due to many reasons, one of which is following a fall. Through our knowledge and expertise we know there are certain things you can do to keep moving and avoid the risk of falling. We want to help our Service Users to stay safe, so we have devised list of ten top tips for preventing falls. We sincerely hope this comes as some help to you and your loved ones.
10 Top tips for Preventing Falls
1. Eat and drink well
To avoid medical conditions that increase your risk of falling make sure you receive enough nutrients Eat breakfast every morning: missing meals could make you feel dizzy. You could also feel lightheaded if you don’t drink enough fluids each day. You may not always feel thirsty or hungry, so one of our top tips for preventing falls would be to find ways to find ways to remember to eat and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
It is also a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol because it can make you feel light headed and may affect your co-ordination.
2. Keep active
Exercise can improve balance, strength, coordination and flexibility. So, our second top tip for preventing falls is to keep moving, for example walking and swimming. It is important to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional about the type of exercise that would be good for you and follow their recommendation. A doctor may refer you to support from a physical or occupational therapist. An occupational therapist can visit you at home to discuss an exercise program to suit you that will improve your balance, muscle strength and gait (how you take steps).
If you prefer to exercise at home, Ideal Home Care Solutions can offer support to encouragement.
3. Use the right equipment and aids
The secret to reducing the risk for falls is not only moving more, but moving safely. An occupational therapist can advise you on suitable adaptations for your home to make it safer for you, as well aids to make day to day living tasks easier. They can also give you information about the extensive range of aids and adaptations to meet a wide variety of needs. Depending upon your circumstances these may be available for loan from the local authority or from specialist suppliers. Some examples include:
- Walking aids such as a walking frame, stick or ramps;
- Hand or grab rails to make it easier to get in an and out of a bath;
- Raised seats for a chair or toilet to help you move between standing and sitting safely;
- Aids for accessing those hard to reach places when washing or dressing.
4. Move safely around your home
Take extra care when standing up, reaching or sitting down. We would suggest that when moving from lying down to standing, sit up first and stay sitting a moment or two. Then stand up slowly and stand a few seconds before trying to walk.
When you first wake up, sit on the edge of the bed for a while to fully orientate yourself before you get out of bed. If you are not close to the telephone when it rings, don’t rush to it. Fast, sudden moves could throw you off balance.
Always use your recommended walking aids if you are uneasyy. Make sure that you (or someone else) regularly checks the condition of any equipment that you use. For example, check that the rubber tips on walking sticks are not worn down.
Try to keep your telephone nearby or an aid call button that you can reach to call for help if you fall. Consider carrying a portable phone.
5. Choose the right footwear and clothes
- Wear clothes that fit correctly. It’s easy to trip on a coat, pair of trousers or bathrobe that is too long.
- Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes since your size can change and ill-fitting shoes can increase the risk of falls.
- Choose shoes and slippers that support your feet well and that have non-skid soles. Lace ups can provide more stability, but if you find tying laces difficult then select footwear with fabric fasteners.
- Use a long-handled shoehorn if you have trouble putting on shoes.
- Keep your toenails trimmed.
6. Maintain a home free from obvious hazards
You can move around more safely at home not only by using appropriate aids and adaptations, but by making sure that hazards are removed. Our next top tip for preventing falls is to regularly check for anything that may unnecessarily restrict your movement or that could be a tripping hazard. For example:
- Don’t leave clothes, newspapers or empty containers on the floor or stairs where you may later trip over them.
- Check that there are no tripping hazards from frayed or loose carpets and rugs, uneven floors etc.
- Close cabinet drawers so you won’t stumble over them.
- Keep walkways free of clutter and furniture particularly sharp corners.
- Clean up puddles of water or other spillages promptly to avoid slipping.
- Take care around pets. They may suddenly move in front of your feet or jump on you.
7. Take extra care when washing, dressing and using the stairs
Moments such as these is when you are most vulnerable, avoid slips in the bathroom, bedroom and on the stairs with our seventh top tip for preventing falls.
- It’s never a good idea to grab a towel rack, shampoo holder or soap tray for support in the shower. These will not hold a person’s weight. Ideal Home Care Solutions would recommend you talk to your GP or adviser about fitting a grab rail.
- Let the soap suds go down the drain before you move around in the shower to avoid slipping. Using a non-sip rubber mat is a good idea. Avoid turning suddenly.
- If you are prone to falling, use a shower chair and a handheld shower attachment.
- It may be safer not to lock the bathroom door because if you need help, care agencies or a member of your family could reach you without delay.
- Arrange clothes in your wardrobes and cupboards so they are easy for you to reach without stretching.
- Replace satiny sheets with non-slippery sheets made from cotton.
- If transferring either from or to your bed is difficult for you, seek advice from health representatives about suitable aids such as blocks to raise the height of the bed.
When using the stairs pay special attention to what you are doing:
- Avoid carrying any package that will obstruct your view of the next step.
- Keep at least one hand on the handrail.
- Give all of your attention to moving up and down stairs and try not to be distracted e.g. by conversations or other sounds.
8. Make sure you can see clearly
Always wear glasses if you need them, but remember to remove reading glasses before you walk.
- Keep areas where you regularly move about well lit. Bright watt bulbs are recommended, except where this exceeds the recommended wattage for your particular light fittings.
- Have a torch handy for use in the event of a power failure.
9. Beware medication side effects
The possible side effect of some medicines can increase the risk of falls. Taking several different medicines each day can increase this risk and may cause weakness or dizzy spells.
- Always read the information about side effects that comes with each of your medicines.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects.
- Ask for a review of your medicines if you are unsure or have not had a review for over a year.
10. Seek help when you need it
Having the right care and support when you need it can help increase your well being and retain your independence. Don’t leave it too late to ask for help and advice. At Ideal Home Care Solutions we can offer a range of flexible services tailored to meet your needs.
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