FALL PREVENTION TIPS
As we age many lifestyle factors change and potentially regress, with one major area of concern being falls and their associated risks. This month we will discuss tips for falls prevention within the home and community. “Every day, 133 older Queenslanders have a fall requiring medical attention, even though falls are mostly preventable. Falls have a big impact on mobility and independence, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk.” (Queensland Government- Queensland Stay on your feet). The following tips can reduce your risk of falls:
Participate in Falls Prevention Exercise Therapy
The most successful and specific manner of reducing ones risk of falls is to improve balance, stability and mobility. This can be done via a range of methods such as balance classes, home based exercise, simple strength and resistance therapy or even yoga/tai chi etc. The first step towards participating in exercise for falls prevention would be to seek assistance from an exercise physiologist (EP). An EP can assess your needs, goals, limitations and appropriate medical background in order to implement specific attainable therapy for your situation.
Slow Down Your Movements
One key focus point is to slow down! Unfortunately as we age we try to maintain our youth and vigour by rushing with daily tasks, which significantly increases our risk of falls. By simply slowing down with movements, tasks, walking, transfers and even decision-making we can reduce the risk and improve our balance and stability.
The most common tip I implement for falls prevention is ‘eyes up’. When we walk independently, with a cane, walker or even with a helper we have a habit of looking at our feet. If we have implemented previously mentioned areas our balance and stability should take care of itself, therefore we must look up and focus on where we are going to avoid hazards - which brings us to our next topic!
One of the biggest contributing factors to falls is external hazards. Items such as steps, clutter, slippery surfaces, rugs, incorrect shoes, long dresses and even furniture provide a potential for falls and trip hazards. By reducing the incidence of these within your home your chances of walking freely are greatly improved.
Obviously falls prevention is a massive topic that we could spend all day discussing, however, hopefully these quick tips have provided you with some food for thought. By simply consulting with an exercise physiologist a specific care plan can be put into place and significantly reduce our risk of falls. If you would like to discuss assistance in this matter with our exercise physiologists please feel free to call.
TALK TO OUR EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTS
Wian van Heerden