The risk of a fall can increase as we get older, but the winter weather can lead to more accidents outside. Pavements become more slippery because of fallen leaves and the cold weather will start to make roads icy.
A fall or a fracture is to account for over 4 million people aged 65 and over to be admitted to hospital each year.
A fall can have a big impact on health, and not just from a physical injury. 1 in 10 older people who had a fall said they become afraid to leave the house in case they had another fall. It can impact confidence and independence and increase the risk of social isolation.
In most cases, a fall can be prevented, with many factors to account for the incident. Here are just a few ways you can avoid a trip, slip or fall.
Wear appropriate footwear
This may seem obvious, but there are still a lot of people who will go out in ill-fitting shoes in winter. Worn-out soles on shoes or inappropriate slippers are a big hazard to slipping. Make sure you have sturdy footwear available for when you’re out and about. For someone having foot issues, a chat with a GP, nurse or podiatrist can advise on the best footwear that is both durable and comfortable. It is suggested to not walk about the home in bare feet, socks or tights, as this can lead to slips, trips and falls; wear sensible shoes or well-fitted slippers with good grip indoors.
Check your medication
Some medications can affect eyesight and balance. If you or a loved one is taking any form of medication, check with the GP or pharmacist to see what side effects may occur. Affect such as dizziness, nausea and feeling light-headed can cause falls.
Take care of your eyes and ears
Like medications, eye conditions and hearing problems can also increase the risk of a fall. The development of conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts can increase with age, so regular sight tests can help spot any conditions. A build of ear wax or an ear infection can also affect balance.
Check the weather report and only go out when necessary
The weather is quickly changing to cold temperatures and pathways are becoming damp due to rain. Check the local weather report to see what the weather will be like that day. You’ll be able to be prepared with the right shoes or know to take an umbrella if there is a downpour expected. If the weather is bad, is it worth going out? Sometimes, the best way to prevent a possible fall is by delaying a trip out if it’s not necessary or asking someone to fetch any essentials for you.
When we start a new care plan with a service user, we perform a risk assessment within the home and pinpoint anything that could become a hazard. It’s our priority for our clients to continue living independently within their own homes and staying safe. Our care team are on hand to stop unnecessary falls from occurring. This could be mopping up spillages or tidying away cluttered items, organising the home to avoid stretching, climbing, or bending to access items.
To find out more about how Heritage Healthcare Epsom can support you and your loved ones, you can schedule a discussion with our friendly team through your preferred contact method here.