It is tempting to dismiss tripping and falling as a mundane, common occurrence. But humans aren’t made from steel. We are just one fall away from life-changing injuries. Making an effort to avoid falls can help you live a longer and more fruitful life.
What causes frequent falls at home?
Many common daily activities, such as climbing a flight of stairs or going to the bathroom in a hurry, can put people at risk for accidental falls. The most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from a life-altering fall is by being prudent and taking proper precautions.
Why is it important to prevent falls?
Preventing falls and fractures will allow you to have a better quality of life. Avoiding falls also means reducing pain, stress, and worry, and it might even save you from mortal danger.
Hip fractures are very serious injuries. Sustaining an injury like this can change your way of life forever. Recovering from a hip fracture is complicated, and many people lose the ability to live independently. Bones weaken with age, so the risk of suffering a hip fracture increases exponentially as we grow older. A hip fracture can occur simply from falling from a standing height, making them more prevalent than you may expect.
According to research, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 3 women will experience a hip fracture during their lifetime. More than 80% of these occur in individuals aged 65 and older (source). In the U.S. alone, more than 300,000 people aged 65 or older are hospitalized due to hip fractures (source).
A hip fracture can be the beginning of a prolonged series of health issues. Being immobilized by a hip fracture – or facing a lengthy recovery from one – weakens the body and increases the likelihood of sustaining further injuries.
A person that has been immobilized by a hip fracture is also at risk of developing the following complications:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood clots in legs or lungs
Getting hit in the head may lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), even when only a mild headache is initially experienced. A TBI does not always result in a skull fracture but can still produce diminished or altered states of consciousness. More serious effects of a head injury may not appear until hours, or even days, have passed. Even a life-threatening head injury can take time to show symptoms.
An untreated head injury can lead to chronic pain, which can cause someone to compensate by overusing other parts of their body. That can result in further injury. Additionally, a head injury can lead to the following ailments:
- Loss of consciousness or memory
- Vision problems
- Nausea and lightheadedness
- Difficulty concentrating and speaking
- Sudden headaches
- Soft tissue injury
- Loss of balance, mobility, and fine motor skills
- Personality changes
- Decorticate or decerebrate posturing
Soft tissue injury
Falling can be dangerous because it can cause damage to any part of the body. Our muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be injured in various ways, some of which can cause permanent damage.
The following are considered soft-tissue injuries:
- Contusions: These injuries cause bleeding to occur on the tissue, resulting in pain, swelling, and discoloration of the skin.
- Sprains: A sprain is caused by the partial tear of a ligament. Parts of the body are at high risk of spraining, including wrists, ankles, and knees.
- Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons commonly occurs due to overuse of the elbows, hands, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, or feet. Blunt trauma from falling can also cause someone to develop tendonitis.
- Bursitis: A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that absorbs the pressure between bones, muscles, and tendons. Direct trauma to the joint can cause bursitis, leading these sacs to become inflamed, which can cause other health complications.
- Stress injuries: Also known as stress fractures, these are small cracks in a bone. Stress injuries typically occur in weight-bearing bones, such as those of the legs, feet, and hips.
- Strains: A forceful impact can cause injury to the muscles and tendons. If a muscular tear occurs, surgery might be required for proper recovery.
3 fall prevention tips to ensure your safety
1. Avoid falls by safe-proofing your home
Sometimes we don’t recognize potential hazards to our health because we’re used to living with them. Just as asbestos has been given the moniker “the silent killer” because of how common it used to be in people’s homes, the layout and type of items around your house may be potentially putting your health at risk.
- Throw rugs can easily slip and cause someone to fall. These should be removed.
- Loose electrical cords from TV sets and other home appliances are a tripping hazard. All electrical cords should be taped to the walls.
- Overloading a house with furniture can turn your house into an environment that restricts movement.
- To ease movement around your home, ensure there is proper lighting in every room and passageway. If necessary, keep night lights on in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, and other areas you usually traverse at night.
- Toys can be a tripping hazard. If there are small children in the home, it is important to check that toys are not left lying around after playtime.
2. Do not ignore the efficacy of exercise
As we age, our bodies can’t withstand the same amount of physical activity as when we were younger. But this doesn’t mean senior citizens should forget about fitness. Even if your powerlifting days are gone, engaging in physical activity can help you feel much better about your body and health.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends exercise as one of the main fall prevention strategies. Exercising helps strengthen the muscles that support joints, improve balance, and increase flexibility. Exercising is a good way to help maintain proper posture, and it also boosts confidence and reduces a person’s fear of falling (source).
The following forms of exercise can help people of any age stay physically engaged:
- Walking around the park
- Water aerobics
- Physical therapy
- Tai chi
- Dance therapy
Individuals whose mobility has been reduced can still stay active by performing simple chair exercises. These exercises can help increase range of movement and physical strength, and even improve mood.
3. Acquire an adaptive chair
Investing in high-quality seating options will give you a new dimension of safety and mobility. A good chair will provide the pelvic and lumbar support your body needs while also being useful to support you as you move and perform daily activities.
A personal adaptive chair facilitates a person’s movement while they remain seated, drastically reducing the risk of falling. Health care providers use clinical chairs because they make it easier to examine a patient.
The benefits of adaptive chairs include:
- Improving blood circulation: Poor blood circulation can lead to many other ailments, including blood clots. A sturdy chair that helps with good posture also keeps the body healthy by enabling good blood circulation.
- Increasing the safety of caregivers: Adaptive chairs allow caregivers to better assist patients by making sure they are safe and comfortable. Less physical effort and handling are required from caregivers thanks to the many functionality features of the chair.
- Incentivizing relaxation: A comfortable seating position relieves stress and improves one’s ability to relax. Thanks to the chair, individuals can perform tasks such as cooking and reaching the contents of shelves. Users can move around the house with greater ease.
How clinical chairs prevent falls
The best adaptive seating options help prevent falls by offering their users a safe and supportive position. Modern clinical chairs can be modified according to the needs of the user, and their small frame allows them to fit through most doorways and rooms. If the user doesn’t want the chair to move, they can use the safety brake.
Shop for clinical chairs
Reduce the risk of falls and other accidents by acquiring one of EMP Living’s clinical or mobility chairs. Thanks to the REAL Seating System, EMP Living can provide its clients with smart, reliable, and sturdy chairs with an ergonomic design adaptable to the needs of every individual.
By choosing EMP Living’s mobility equipment, you can benefit by acquiring a chair with:
- Improved safety and functionality: Every REAL chair has a safety brake that keeps the chair when necessary. The design also allows users to perform complex actions independently and for longer periods of time.
- Powered controls: Electrical controls enable users of REAL chairs to customize the chair’s height, seat tilt, and backrest. The chair’s safety features and safety brake can also be electrically powered.
- A modular design: The narrow but durable frame enables REAL chairs to traverse through tight environments while also catering to users’ needs. Accessories such as seat belts, harnesses, trunk supports, leg dividers, and more can be installed into the chair to adapt its functionality.
REAL chairs can fulfill multiple adaptive seating roles. In addition to being adaptive chairs, they can also be used as hi-lo chairs, standing support chairs, therapy chairs, and much more.