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We all trip over sometimes, but for older people (aged 65 and over) particularly, falls are a major health concern. In fact, falls are the single largest cause of injury in Australia and New Zealand across all age groups.

Falls can be very serious. In Australia, falls represent 42% of injury hospitalisations and 40% of injury deaths.

Even when falls don’t result in serious injury, they can lead to a fear of falling in older people. Over time, this can lead to the person being so cautious they limit their movements, which, unfortunately, further increases the risk of falling.

Contrary to what you might expect, most falls occur in the home and involve someone tripping, slipping or stumbling on a flat surface. Falls from steps or furniture are also common causes of injury.

Just remember, if you are concerned about yourself or a family member, help is at hand 24/7 via the Sonder app.

Preventing falls

The good news is that most falls can be prevented. If you have an older person in your life, you can work with them to create greater awareness of falls and put in some preventive measures to keep them safe.

Here are some tips for preventing falls in elderly relatives:

  1. Remove tripping hazards: Keep floors clear of clutter, cords, and unnecessary items. Make sure that all areas of the home are well-lit to help your relative see where they are going. You might need to move furniture around to create clear pathways.

  2. Install safety devices: Consider installing handrails on stairs and in bathrooms, and grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Non-slip mats should be placed in the bathtub and shower to reduce the risk of slipping.

  3. Help with mobility: Assist your relative with walking or help them buy a cane or walker if needed. Make sure their shoes fit properly and have non-slip soles.

  4. Medication management: Review your relative's medications with their healthcare provider to ensure that they are not taking any medications that may increase their risk of falling.

  5. Exercise: Encourage your relative to engage in regular physical activity, as this can help improve their balance and coordination. Aim for about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days, but any amount of activity is beneficial — even just a few minutes.

  6. Vision and hearing: Have your relative's vision and hearing checked regularly, as poor vision and hearing can increase the risk of falls.

By taking these steps, you can help reduce the risk of falls and keep your elderly relative safe and independent. It's important to stay vigilant and make any necessary changes to the home as your relative's needs change.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Healthdirect, ANZ Falls Prevention Society, AIHW.

Image credit: Pexels.

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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