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How to Prevent FallsCommunity Education Event: May 16, 2012 Speaker: Lorie Eber, JD Gerontologist Coastline Community College Gerontology Instructor NASM Certified Personal Trainer Credentialed Senior Fitness Specialist
Have YOU Ever Fallen?• What were the circumstances?• Did you tell your doctor?• Are you afraid you will fall again?• Did you make any changes to decrease your chances of falling again?
Do You Have “Fallophobia”?• Can lead to more falls even without an increased physiological risk• May cause you to limit your activities which can make you weaker and socially isolated• Solution: make changes to decrease your risk
Fact or Myth?1. Falling is something normal that happens as we get older.2. If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.3. As long as I stay home, I can avoid falling.4. Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
Fall Statistics• Leading cause of accidental death for 65+• 1 out of 3 adults 65+ falls each year• Most common cause of ER visits• Cause 90% of all hip fractures• California: 2 people die of falls every day
Common Risk Factors for Falls1. Postural hypotension aka orthostatic dizziness2. Use of anti-anxiety and sleep medications3. Use of 4+ prescription medications4. Environmental hazards5. Impairment in muscle strength or range of motion
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus • Women are 58% more likely than men to suffer a non-fatal fall injury • Men have a 46% higher death rate from a fall than women • Women are twice as likely as men to suffer a fracture from a fall
Post-Fall Statistics• 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living• Nearly 20% will die within a year• Seniors who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again
Where in the Home Do Falls Happen? Percentage of falls Room 31% Living Rooms 30% Bedrooms 21% Kitchens 13% Bathrooms 10% Hallways
Why Do Older Adults Fall?• Internal Risk Factors – Normal aging changes in vision, hearing, bone density, reflexes, coordination and strength – Diseases such as Parkinson’s, macular degeneration, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke• External Risk Factors – Medications – Alcohol – Environmental hazards
Risks We Can Eliminate• Poor lighting• Clutter• Uneven surfaces• Stairways without railings• Bathtubs and showers without grab bars• Furniture that is too high or too low• Throw rugs• Loose carpets• Wet floors or pavements
Be Proactive!• Get screened and treated for osteoporosis• Do weight bearing exercises• Make sure you have adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D• Ask your doctor to review all your medications
Get Assessed• Annual medical evaluation• Review of all your medications• Get an in-home safety evaluation from an occupational or physical therapist, care manager or home health provider
How to Get Up From a Fall• Locate a sturdy piece of furniture• Roll over onto your side• Push your upper body up• Crawl on your hands and knees• Put your hands on the chair seat• Slowly rise from the kneeling position• Turn your body to sit in the chair• Regain your composure
Types of Exercise• Exercises that build balance and lower-body strength reduce the risk of falls by 33%• Balance exercises: tai chi, yoga• Core exercises: to increase strength in deep stabilization muscles in trunk• Balance & Mobility or Fall Proof Classes
Let’s Exercise Stand on One Foot• Stand on right foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance• Hold for 10 seconds• Repeat 3 times• Repeat with left leg
Medications• Some medications, or combinations of medications, can make you confused, tired or dizzy• Which meds? blood pressure, anti-anxiety, antidepressants (SSRIs), sleeping pills, tranquilizers• Ask your doctor to review all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and homeopathic
Common Home Modifications• Install handrails on both sides of stairways• Mark first & last step with tape or paint• Use non-skid strips in shower or bathtub• Install grab bars in tub, shower, next to toilet• Install elevated seat on toilet
Make Sure Contractor is Licensed• Licensed by CA Contractors State Licensing Board• Call (800) 321-CSLB or• Internet Search: – California Contractors State Licensing Board – then click on “check license”
Tips for Hiring a Contractor• Get a recommendation• Get 3 estimates• Sign a written contract• Don’t pay in cash• Don’t pay more than 10% or $1,000 upfront
Living Room• Remove throw rugs• Clear away the clutter• Position phone conveniently• Remove all cords and wires• Make sure lighting is adequate
Bedroom• Install night-lights• Make sure you can reach a light from bed• Make sure you can reach a phone from bed
Kitchen• Place frequently used items within easy reach• Invest in a steady step stool• Don’t take short cuts, e.g., using a chair as a step stool, trying to reach items that are out- of-reach• Keep floors dry
Bathroom• Put a non-slip surface on bathtub or shower• Install grab bars• Add a booster to the toilet• Consider a walk-in shower
Stairs and Steps• Remove clutter• Fix broken or uneven steps• Add light switches to bottom and top of staircase• Make sure carpet is not loose or torn• Make sure handrails on both sides are secure