Falls are one of the leading causes of hospital admission amongst those aged 65 years and over and the rate of falls within Australia has been steadily increasing each year. The most common type of fall is due to a slip or trip on the same level which accounts for approximately 40% of all falls. Whilst sometimes falls may be unavoidable, there are many factors that we can control to help prevent or reduce the chance of having a fall. The following details some recommendations for the prevention of falls in older adults:
Completion of regular exercise: Strength, balance and functional exercises are important in reducing the risk of falls. These can include walking, sit to stands, standing balance, tai chi, climbing stairs and dual-task activities. These should be done 2-3 times per week or even daily for best results.
Regular review of medications: Some medications can have side effects that increase the risk of falls. It is important to be aware of this and review your medications with your GP or medical professional if there are any concerns.
Assessing the home environment: Having your home assessed for fall hazards by health professionals (such as Occupational Therapists) can help to reduce the risk of falls occurring. The assessment can include things such as having rails placed next to steps or having sensor lights installed near tripping hazards.
Address possible vision and hearing impairments: It is important to review and address any issues regarding vision or hearing deficits with the appropriate medical professional, as these concerns can increase the risk of a fall.
Raise concerns about falling: If you are at all worried about falling, it is important to discussed this with your GP or health professional who can assist you in assessing your falls risk and discussing the appropriate interventions to take.