As we age, the impact of falls becomes more and more serious. Gone are our younger days where we might simply be left with a few bruises and a story to tell. For the elderly community, falls can have lasting effects.
Did you know that according to the NHS, around 1 in 3 adults over 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year? While most falls do not result in serious injury, some do, so we need to do our best to support the elderly community and ensure that fewer falls are occurring.
A fall is more than just a fall. In fact, falls at home, especially at night, can lead to fractures, medical complications, long hospital stays and isolation. For some, these falls lead to a loss of independence and may result in being unable to live at home.
There is also a link between falls and people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. According to the NHS, research shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK who have dementia. One in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80. Dementia is a contributing risk factor to falls as it can lead to confusion and lack of confidence, which can lead to instability.
Falls can happen due to a multitude of reasons, from side effects of medications to trip hazards in the home. Here are some of the key contributing factors for falls.
These factors are often unavoidable or difficult to reverse and put us at additional risk of falls, so it is important to be aware of them.
- Balance problems and muscle weakness
- Issues with vision
- Long-term health conditions, such as heart disease or dementia
- Low blood pressure
- Certain medications that cite dizziness as a side effect
These include the ways that our environments are set up and how our behaviours can put us at risk of falling.
- Slipping hazards, such as wet floors and showers with no non-slip mats
- Lack of lighting throughout the space
- Rugs or carpets not properly secured down
- Stairs with a poor railing
- Rushing to get up or move during the day or night
- A fear of falling. Falling once can lead to further falls in the future
What can be done to prevent falls?
1) We can design our spaces to reduce the risk of falls, which involves removing trip hazards and obstacles
2) Add some additional lighting into your space, including lamps for tables and corners of rooms
3) Exercise classes, and gentle exercise such as walking and yoga, can help to improve stability
4) At-home safety devices like Bide (more on this below)
The fear of falling
The reality is that once an older adult has experienced a fall, it can increase the likelihood of them falling again. This is due to a variety of factors, such as a loss of confidence and also a fear of the impact of a fall. According to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, falling once doubles your chances of falling again. This is why fall prevention methods are crucial for the safety and independence of our older communities.
A little about Bide...
Bide is on a mission to empower independence at home and provide peace of mind for concerned loved ones.
The device works by detecting light and motion while the user sleeps. When Bide detects them sitting up or reaching to turns on their bedside light, it plays a pre-recorded message from a loved one, reminding them to take their time. Doing this gently alerts the user to their whereabouts and gives them a moment to focus on their surroundings and get out of bed safely.
It’s a simple but incredibly effective way of preventing falls. Every fall prevented counts.
Our final thoughts
Falls for the elderly are often more serious and can lead to a variety of lasting impacts, from fractures to hospital stays. However, there are some things we can all do to prevent them.
Bide is one way to help to keep yourself or relatives safe. To learn more, visit our Get Bide page today.
Make sure you’re following us on social media so that you don’t miss out on our product development updates and safety at home advice, as well as lifestyle content.
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
To learn more about the Bide device and how it can support you or your loved ones to live independently at home, visit our About Us page.
If you have any questions about who we are and what we do, get in touch with us today.