Seniors Outreach - September 13, 2017

We’ve all heard the advertising slogan, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” It may presently be something that we begin to think is funny and a cliché. However, when it happens to us as we begin to have more and more issues with mobility – it becomes a very profound and unsettling reality.

Perhaps, most unnerving is the reality that at that moment, we have lost the ability to bounce back as we did when we were young. Someone mentioned to me the other day, “ I am still young and alive in my brain, but my body doesn’t respond to how I am inside – it lets me down.” What a truth!

As we recognize that reality, it can be comforting to know that there are at least TWO ways to falls and fall prevention that can be of assistance. First one should follow some steps to mitigate falls in your life, and Second one should have a connection to a personal response service in case of an actual fall.

FALL PREVENTION may include the following six simple fall-prevention strategies:

1. Make an appointment with your doctor

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

• What medications are you taking?

• Have you fallen before?

• Could your health conditions cause a fall?

2. Keep moving

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor’s OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

3. Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet. Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. (Sensible shoes)

4. Remove home hazards

Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards. To make your home safer:

• Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.

• Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.

• Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.

• Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.

• Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.

• Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.

• Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.

5. Light up your living space

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

6. Use assistive devices

Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help too.

If necessary, ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist. He or she can help you brainstorm other fall-prevention strategies. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you’re concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.

Secondly, the installation and connection to a personal response system which provides a voice at the other end of a telephone through a lanyard button or similar such system. This enables responders to be identified and contacted before hand and made aware that they are your check in as well as first responders from your area should the need arise for you to have their support. This system has some financial support for low-income Albertans from Alberta Financial Assistance for both installation and monthly charges. The need, far outweighs the inconvenience and financial components when one has “fallen and can’t get up.”

Seniors Outreach provides informational sessions regarding fall prevention, personal response services and the installation of such services. Check with us for future information regarding this important consideration in our lives.

(Source materials from: Fall Prevention: Simple Tips to prevent Falls by Mayo Clinic Staff - http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/indepth/fall-prevention/art-20047358.