In Australia, one in three people over 65 experience a fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of hospitalisation for Australian seniors, with an average of seven days spent in hospital following a slip, trip or stumble.
In fact, more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, and falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
It’s important to recognize that falls are not a ‘normal’ part of ageing and are preventable.
For over 65s, the biggest risk factors for avoidable falls are:
5 tips to help you reduce your risk of falling
1. Build Your Balance:
Good balance relies on your brain communicating with your muscles, joints, eyes and ears. All of your systems need to work together so you can react quickly in a risky situation and stay stable.
The best way to avoid a bad fall is to build good balance. Some activities that help you do that include, Tai chi, yoga, aerobics, standing on one leg and other balance exercises. It’s also important to address any foot issues that might be affecting your balance.Talk to a podiatrist about any concerns you might have, and ensure you always wear supportive footwear that helps you maintain your balance.
2. Improve Your Strength
Muscle mass declines with age, so it’s important to maintain your strength as much as possible, particularly in your legs. Making and maintaining the habit of being physically active is the best way to stay strong. But don’t stress – your strength training routine doesn’t have to be strenuous. Some everyday strength training exercises include, walking the dog, gardening, cleaning the house, etc.
3. Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
A healthy diet and lifestyle ensures your body has all the nutrients and vitamins it needs to work as it should. Calcium is especially important for bone development, while Vitamin D is needed to absorb the calcium. The Australian sun, and the best choice is to get in the sun before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m and make sure you eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, seafood and canned fish.
4. Improve your vision
Our vision tends to change as we get older. Since bad vision is a big risk factor for falls, make sure you have your eyes checked at least once a year. To help improve your vision, you should always wear your glasses when you’re moving around.
5. Remove hazards around the home
If you want to avoid falls at home, you need to remove any hazards. To reduce your risk of falling at home, you should replace any loose or slippery tiles, especially in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, install anti-slip surfaces in high traffic areas and stairways, rearrange furniture to give you more room to move around freely and so on. Our case manager will help you with the environmental risk assessment when you visit your home. Our case team will give you advice on how to prevent falls at home. We can also help you purchase furniture and equipment to prevent falls and reduce the impact of falls.
Our case manager will do an environmental risk assessment at your home and can give you advice on how to prevent falls. We can also help you purchase furniture and equipment to prevent falls and reduce the impact of falls.
If you feel that you have mobility problems or are prone to fall, you can also consult your GP, physiotherapist or occupational therapist. They will help you better assess your risks and provide advice.
When you fall down and need help, please dial 000 first. You can also call Melbar’s 24-hour emergency hotline for any help.
If you want to learn more about fall risk prevention, or want to make an appointment for any assessment, please contact your case manager.