Falls can occur for a huge number of reasons. The role of a physiotherapist is to the address physical ones!

Here are 5 steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls for a loved one in the home…

(but there are many more)

1) Assess and adapt the environment

examples can be:

– remove trip hazards such as lose carpets / rugs or uneven surfaces / thresholds

– purchase adjusters to raise the height of sofas or chairs to make standing / sitting easier.

– ensure adequate lighting throughout the home

2) Reduce the fear

– get a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to practice tasks such as sit to stand, stairs and getting in and out of bed

– only attempt tasks that the feel confident with, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

– use a mobility aid that has been recommended by a physiotherapist

3) Don’t wear lose slippers

– open backed slippers are a real trip hazard. They make you shuffle your feet along the floor, making it more likely you will trip.

4) Maintain your physical fitness

– cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance are all important! Get a physiotherapist to assess your physical fitness and they will be able to advise you on exercises that you can complete safely in the home.

5) Be prepared!

– the number one cause of serious consequences of a fall is not necessarily the fall itself. It is what in the industry we refer to as a “long lie”.

– do you call your alone elderly loved one every day? what if they fell straight after your phone call and couldn’t get up? They would then be stranded on the floor for 24hrs until you called again and raised the alarm when they didn’t answer.

– “Long Lie” can cause hypothermia, pneumonia and a whole host of complications if injuries aren’t addressed.

so what can you do to prepare?

– get a pendant alarm. Simple pieces of kit that hang around your loved ones neck and they press if they fall which alerts a central call centre that they need assistance. (google “pendant alarm” for various options)

– get a mobile phone holder that your loved one can attach to their belt so they always have access to a phone

– get a physiotherapist to practice with your loved one the technique of how to stand from the floor

– ensure in winter that the heating is correctly set so that if they are on the floor they wont be exposed to the cold

– adopt an understanding of that it’s ok to ask for help. Too many elderly people don’t want to cause trouble so wont call if they need assistance – but it can be a case of life and death.

If you would like any further advice then do not hesitate to get in contact.

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram as “Richard Higgs Physiotherapy” or via my website www.rhphysio.com

Richard Higgs

Richard Higgs Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy, in the comfort of your own home

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