The winter months represent the most dangerous period for those prone to falls.
A fall can be traumatic, life-changing and, at worst, life-threatening.
- 30% of those over 65 years of age will fall
- Half of those will fall repeatedly.
- It costs the NHS £1.7 billion a year.
- Long term consequences include:
- Restricted movement
- Inability to walk without assistance
- Decreased independence
- A ‘fear of falling’ that reduces activities and social outings.
A falls prevention strategy raises awareness of the potential risks and offers practical ways to minimise them.
CHECKLIST TO REDUCE YOUR RISK AT HOME:
We all know that most accidents occur in the home – so do a sweep through your house to remove falling, tripping and slipping hazards.
- Clear clutter from floors, including electrical cords
- Fix down rugs and mats – or remove them altogether
- Brighten your lighting, especially over stairs and entries
- Put in handrails where needed, especially in bathrooms
- Reorganise storage to eliminate over-reaching and climbing
- Pay attention when using stairs, don’t be distracted
- Wear only firmly fitting shoes and slippers, a common hazard
- The simplest thing is often to clean your glasses
– when I do that for people, they are amazed at how much more they can see!
It is also documented that taking multiple medications dramatically increases falling risks.
This is something to monitor in consultation with your GP.
Your physical condition is the most important contributor to managing your falls risk and determines your ability to recover.
The key elements are your:
- Proprioception (i.e. knowing “where your feet are”)
- Upper body strength, particularly grip-strength.
- Some people literally “trip over their own feet”.
- Restoring proprioception can be a lifesaver.
- Poor grip-strength impairs your ability to grab something to prevent falling.
At New Milton Chiropractic we measure, and work at improving Balance, Strength and Proprioception, and the other key elements, so you are at less risk of falling and can live your life to the full.
Dr Damien T. O’Dwyer, BSc PGDipSc PhD MChiro DC