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The causes of and how to prevent falls in the elderly


Falls amongst the elderly can have profound consequences, often extending far beyond the physical impact. Whilst many of these incidents may not result in life-threatening injuries, they frequently lead to issues that affect the individual's overall wellbeing. These falls can inflict both physical and emotional distress, erode self-confidence and can chip away at the individual's independence.

Whilst falls can be a common occurrence whilst we age, many of them are entirely preventable. When we acknowledge and address the risks of falling, we can take proactive steps to reduce the chances of a fall.

We've put together a list of common reasons people fall and have provided some ideas of how to prevent falls:

  1. Poor lighting - Dimly lit rooms can lead to falls, especially if there are changes in floor levels in the same area. As we age, our eyes become less adept at discerning shadows and navigating dimly lit areas. Ensure all areas of your home are adequately lit. You may even want to consider motion-activated light bulbs or digital light bulbs that can be switched on and off from a device.
  2. Clutter - Household clutter on the floor is a trip hazard. Ensure you keep pathways clear and the floor of things that can be tripped over. Also be mindful of area rugs as this can also be a trip hazard if they are not fixed to the floor.
  3. Uneven surfaces - transitions between rooms with uneven surfaces also present fall risks. Changes in floor level are likely to occur near doorways or in gardens, so be mindful of even small elevation differences.
  4. Slippery surfaces - of course icy and slippery conditions outdoors present well-known fall risks, but there are plenty of slippery surfaces in the home that could lead to falls. Wet flooring in bathrooms and kitchens also pose a risk. Use rugs around sink basins, bathtubs and showers but ensure they are fixed in place!
  5. Poor vision - changes in eyesight can increase your risk of a fall. Vision issues can hinder your ability to spot obstruction before it's too late.
  6. Dizziness and loss of balance - as some people get older, they begin to experience bouts of dizziness and loss of balance when rising from seated positions or stepping out of the bath. Sudden bouts of instability can catch them off guard and cause them to try to overcorrect and lead to falls.

Of course this isn't an exhaustive list of things that can be fall risks in the home. And even when following the above steps, falls still may occur. That's when the reassurance of a falls monitoring and response service like Carecall can help. We are available every day of the year, including Bank Holidays and Christmas to provide assistance should you have a fall.