New Report released by the County of San Diego highlights need for fall prevention
Last week an elderly man I know decided to take a short walk with his wife in their neighborhood. They made it to the sloped driveway when the man suddenly fell. His distraught wife couldn’t get him up for good reason. He had broken his hip. He hadn’t been doing anything unusual, they weren’t in a rush, he was wearing good shoes, it seemed that only the slight curve in the driveway could be blamed, and the fact the the man is in his 80’s.
Fortunately, he was in pretty good shape before the fall so he’s improving well and will hopefully recover most of his mobility and quality of life, if he sticks to his physical therapy routine.
For some, falls dramatically change their quality of life. According to the newly released San Diego County Falls Report, an older San Diegan dies from a fall every 30 hours. The report predicts that over the next year, 117, 142 local residents will fall. Between 23,000 and 36,000 residents will suffer from injuries that make it difficult for them to live independently.
Looking just at 2010 alone, falls were the cause of 68% of all deaths due to injuries in San Diego County. And for some reason fall related deaths are rising. the number of deaths for people 65 and older rose 239% from 2001 to 2010.
What can be done?
Fall Prevention in the elderly is key to preserving independence for those 65 and older.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, Director of Public Health for the county of San Diego, recommends interventions such as a medical evaluation (including a medication review and vision, strength and balance assessments), a home safety evaluation and physical fitness programs that include strength and balance components.
Restrooms and kitchens are common areas for falls. The dangers include throw rugs that are a trip hazard and water spilled on the floor. In the restroom, it’s common for us to see showers that would be much safer if a bench and grab bars were installed. Some of our clients use towel racks as grab bars, which give a false sense of security, but they can’t really support a person’s weight in a fall.
At Home Care Solution caregivers are trained to provide support services, such as help with bathing, dressing, and help with meal preparation. They also encourage physical activity, when appropriate, because the fear of falling can also be a risk factor. People who feel anxious about walking limit their physical activity, and that increases their weakness and chances of falling.
More tips can be found at SanDiegoFallPrevention.org.
You can read the entire report by clicking the link here. Senior Fall Report 2012
If you are worried about someone you love, At Home Care Solution can provide comprehensive case management assessments and can work with your family to protect your loved one’s independence. Call 760-634-8000 to learn more about our San Diego senior care.
You can also attend a free fall prevention conference. Click for more information.