What condition is most likely to get you taken to A&E? Flu? Heart attack? Falling?
That’s right. Falling is one of the biggest reasons that older people need to visit the emergency department by ambulance or are taken there by their live in carer and can result in a loss of independence or even admission to a nursing or care home.
There are plenty of things you can do to ensure that you reduce the risk of falling.
There are many reasons why we are more at risk of falling as we age. Among them are worsening eye-sight, medications that affect balance and stability, reduction in muscle tone and strength and certain chronic conditions.
The first step to reducing your fall risk is to assess how likely you are to fall in the first place. You will need to be honest with yourself about how much your eyes have deteriorated, how difficult the stairs are getting or just how often your blood pressure medication makes you feel dizzy.
This is especially important if you have lived in the same place for a long time. Adding a rail to the front steps, swapping a rope banister for a fixed one or adding anti-slip measures in the bathroom can all make your home safer and make you less likely to fall.
If it’s some time since you last saw your optician then perhaps it’s time to get your eyes rechecked. Not only can the optician check for symptoms of serious conditions they can also ensure you have the right prescription which can be enough to stop you tripping on the step.
If your medication is making you feel dizzy or unbalanced then ask your doctor if it’s possible to try another type. A different dose or taking the medicine at a different time of day may also reduce unwanted side-effects.
Make sure you keep yourself as active as possible. Take a daily walk and spread housework out throughout the day so you aren’t sitting for extended periods of time. If you find yourself lacking motivation then ask if there is a specialist exercise classes you could attend. Not only will it help you to improve your muscle strength and co-ordination but it could help you to make some new friends.
Consider asking for help
If your mobility is really suffering then consider whether it’s time to find a live-in care or homecare provider or employ the services of a home help. There are two main types – live-in carer’s and live-out. A live-out carer is what most people think of and, depending on your needs, they can help you to wash, dress, prepare light meals and offer some company during the day. A live-in carer will take on more of the running of the household and can reduce the risk of falls as they will undertake the riskier aspects of housework as well as accompanying you to the shops or appointments.