By: Victoria Lougheed, Education & Learning Lead, FCBC
On average 12 seniors die and 259 are hospitalized each day due to falls.
Many of our caregivers have reported that they are over 50, and caring for loved ones in in a similar age group. This puts both caregivers and care recipients at higher risk of falling. As we age, the risks of falling grow exponentially, with higher rates of hospitalization, and loss of independence. Yet falls are the most preventable of all injuries, according to Vancouver Coastal Health and Island Health.
We can act to stop this from happening to our loved ones or ourselves. As caregivers, it’s especially important for us to ensure we’re moving with safety and have minimized risk. This helps to ensure we can continue in our caregiving roles. It also provides a safe environment for our care recipients who may be at even higher risk due to chronic illness, cognitive decline, or decreased mobility
Make Your Home Safer
Look for tripping or falling hazards like throw rugs, exposed cords, clutter around walkways or steps. Are handrails installed on outside steps and indoor staircases? Look around your home in the evening: are hallways and bedrooms lit well enough to move around? Install nightlights wherever you can. Check the bathroom and install bars in the tub or shower. Towel rails will not hold a person’s weight. Use a non-slip mat in the tup and on the floor outside it for drying off. In the kitchen, place commonly used items within easy reach.
Make Yourself Safer
Parachute Canada, a national charity dedicated ot injury prevention, has many resources for helping seniors maintain good health and physical agility. Top of their list is to keep using our bodies by engaging in regular exercise-walking daily, and challenging our bodies to keep them nimble and fit. They also recommend getting adequate rest, and taking your time when walking, getting up in the morning, or up from a chair.
Make sure you’re feeding your body well with good nutrition and hydration. Have vision checked regularly to be aware of any changes. Review medications annually with your family doctor or pharmacist. Some medications can cause dizziness, or interact poorly with others. Properly fitting shoes are vital. They should be comfortable and sturdy with wide sole and solid heel. In winter months, make sure you have crampons – spikes that can be fitted to winter boots – to keep you from slipping. If you use mobility aids, winterize them.
Make Yourself Safer
Statistics from Parachute Canada clearly detail some stark realities: On average 12 seniors die and 259 are hospitalized each day in Canada due to falls. Sobering numbers that can be prevented with some planning, preparation, and committing to regular daily physical activity. Let’s commit to ourselves, our loved ones and each other not to become one of these statistics. A little prevention goes a long way!
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