How to Prevent Falls in Older People.
It is estimated that about one third of people over the age of sixty-five years experience at least one fall each year. In the U.K. alone (pop. 60m) that is more than three million people. Accidental falls account for more than 70% of fatal accidents in people over the age of sixty-five.
Why then, you may ask, do we hear so little about it? There are probably a few reasons for this. First, it's only in recent years that the problem has been recognised for what it is - a major problem for some people that can cause serious injury. Secondly, it's only since the seriousness of the problem was recognised that a lot of work has been done to try to prevent it.
Another reason why we have so little about the problem is because of the embarrassment factor. Nobody likes to fall, it can be embarrassing. If we fall, we generally look around and hope that nobody saw what happened and we certainly don't talk about it. But by not talking about falls doesn't mean that they will go away; while the problem stays hidden, the opportunities to put preventative measures in place are lost.
Probably the only time you'll hear of an older person falling is when they do themselves a serious injury and end up in hospital. This is because nobody likes to think of themselves as getting older, dependent and having to curtail activity.
People who have had a fall often fear that if they let it be known, then their independence will be taken away from them and they may end up in a nursing home. It's a real fear, but an irrational one. The problem is that people have been so busy covering up the problem that until recently very few people had bothered looking for answers. The good news is that we now know that there is a lot that can be done to reduce falls.
The important mesage from this part is: If you have suffered a fall or suspect that somebody else has fallen, do not hide the problem - ASK FOR HELP!
This series of articles will look at Fall Prevention measures that can reduce the risk of falling.
In Part 2 we will look at Hazards Around The Home.
Part 3 will look at the Risks Posed by Health and Fitness issues.
Part 4 will look at Imortant Fall Reduction Measures.
Part 5 will look at where to get Further Help.
The whole of this series is based on a fall reduction programme that I devised called 'FRASE' (Fall Risk Assessment Score for the Elderly). 'FRASE' has been adopted by hospitals and Elderly Care facilities internationally and has been proven to reduce the incidence of falls in older people. I devised this programme after thirty years of nursing in care of the older person settings, orthopaedic wards, and Accident and Emergency Departments. I hope that by following the five parts of this guide that it will save at least one life somewhere in the world.
This series is based on my recently published book ' Fall Prevention for Older People - A Survival Guide'. Available through Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and in all good bookshops.