Falling down is a common accident. Although in most cases it does not cause much harm But there is a chance of serious injury especially for the elderly who are at high risk of falls. However, knowing the risk factors for falls and taking appropriate precautions can help reduce the occurrence of this type of accident.
Most people overlook the dangers of small accidents like falls. Thinking that it is not a serious matter But actually, falls can be harmful to the elderly in the short and long term, such as fractures or fractures. This may cause the patient to have health problems, losing confidence until having problems with socializing or feel that they are a burden to others.
Causes of falls in the elderly
Some factors can easily increase the risk of accidental falls. Whether it is a matter of body limitations, older age. illness side effects from drug use, or an unfavorable environment. Falling leads to dangers that are mostly found in the elderly. With the following main reasons:
- Balance problems and muscle weakness.
- Visual problems.
- Health problems such as heart disease, dementia, low blood pressure, little rest. This can result in dizziness and loss of consciousness.
- The use of drugs that have side effects on the patient, such as drugs to treat blood pressure. Heart medications, diuretics, muscle relaxants Sedative, etc.
In addition, another disease that causes easy falls is osteoporosis. This can happen in the elderly, both men and women. But most often found in women. This is because hormonal changes during menopause affect bone strength.
Although the elderly are the most vulnerable to osteoporosis. But those who have smoking habits drinking large amounts of alcohol or using steroid drugs for a long time including having a family history of previous hip fractures are all at risk of developing osteoporosis than the general public.
However, external risk factors such as unfavorable environment may cause falls at any age, Which most of the reasons are as follows:
- Carpet or doormat that slippery
- The floor is wet or slippery than usual, such as the bathroom floor.
- The rush to go to the bathroom until an accident occurs.
- Complications that may arise from a fall.
- Not enough light Making it impossible to see obstacles.
- Place things in a mess or crowded making walking inconvenient.
Even for the most part, a fall is not very dangerous. But sometimes it can lead to serious injuries such as a hip fracture. Causing movement problems head injury which may result in brain damage or severe cases, can be fatal.
What should you do when the elderly fall down?
A fall is an accident that happens unexpectedly, so the first thing that should be done after a fall is to stay mindful as soon as possible. The elderly should breathe in and out slowly and should not move his body immediately until the shock is recovered. Then slowly check to see if the elderly feel pain in any part of the body and avoid immediately standing up because of getting up incorrectly or too quickly may aggravate the injury.
After that, if it is determined that the elderly can get up without help. Let the elderly slowly turn to the side and pause for a moment, then gradually change to a crawling position Crawl to a chair that is strong enough to support you up. If you feel tired, rest a few minutes before you slowly get up, starting with your hands on the chair. Move one foot forward and place your foot flat on the floor. Keep the other knee on the ground. Then he supported himself, stood up, and turned over to sit in a chair slowly, sit and rest until symptoms improve.
In addition, the elderly who are involved in the event should warm their bodies by covering them with cloth or coverings. Especially the legs and feet Try to be in the most comfortable position and should change the posture at least every 30 minutes to make the body move more easily.
However, if there is an injury or can’t stand up on its own You should seek help from others or notify emergency medical services as soon as possible. If you’re alone while waiting for help Should adjust the posture to be as comfortable as possible until you get help to relieve the pain.
How to prevent falls in the elderly?
The fall was an accident. It is difficult to predict when this happened. However, there is a way to reduce risk. But the main thing is physical activities should not be avoided simply for fear of falling down. Because there will be more risk of falling than before Ask your doctor to advise you on ways to exercise that strengthen your strength and shape, such as walking, dancing, tai chi, or a special training program.
Since the surrounding environment is one of the factors that can cause falls, therefore, should turn to change the home environment to be safer, such as
- Keep belongings, utensils, or food in an easy-to-reach place.
- If there is spill water or food on the floor Should be cleaned as soon as possible. So as not to accidentally step on and slip and fall.
- Attach anti-slip tape at risk of slipping and sticking double-sided tape under the carpet to prevent the carpet from moving while stepping on.
- Repair damaged floors prevent tripping and falling.
- Laying the bathroom floor with anti-slip tiles or use a chair while taking a shower.
- Store items that are not used, including power cords and telephone lines. Not to obstruct the walkway.
- Move furniture away from frequent passive areas or risk falling easily.
In addition, the environment should be adjusted inside and outside the house to be bright. Easy to walk and the light switch should be placed in an area that is easy to turn off In addition, the flashlight should be stored in an easily accessible place in case of a power outage.
For the elderly, Your doctor may recommend using a cane or a walking aid. Including installing various assistive devices to prevent falls, such as:
- Handrail for holding up and downstairs.
- Attaching anti-slip tape at the edge of each step.
- Handrails or armrests in the bathroom.
- Sturdy plastic chairs for sitting in the bathroom.
For those who need long-term medication which may result in falls risk should consult a doctor about the use of drugs. The doctor will examine the drug used by the patient at least once a year to make sure that the appropriate medicine is received. However, if any drug is found to have side effects The doctor may adjust the dosage to reduce the risk or may have to stop using the drug and switch to another drug instead.
People with osteoporosis may need calcium or vitamin D supplements to help maintain strong bones. Because patients with this disease are at risk of serious injury even if there was a slight fall. As for those with vision problems, you should see an ophthalmologist or an eye specialist. To examine the eyes or to measure new eyesight.
In addition, drinking alcohol can increase the risk of falling as well. Especially the elderly avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol or if you can’t stop drinking, Then should only drink in moderation to reduce the risk of falls and osteoporosis at the same time.