Falls are the leading cause of injury in Canada’s seniors. According to statistics in the guide Reducing Falls and Injuries from Falls by Safer Healthcare Now!, one in three seniors will fall each year, and falls are the cause of 85 percent of hospitalizations of people over the age of 65.
We can take many steps to reduce the risk of falls and prevent injuries, though. Read on to learn how you can keep yourself and your older loved ones safe from harm in Ontario.
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Preventing Falls Caused by Age
As we age, we lose muscle strength and coordination. This general weakening of the body contributes to many falls and accidents. To stave off falls caused by age, older adults can complete a variety of exercises to keep their body healthy.
Adults and caregivers should focus on strengthening leg muscles and improving balance by:
- taking daily walks;
- climbing stairs; or
- participating in low-impact exercise like water aerobics.
There are exercises and stretches available to help nearly every adult, regardless of a person’s athletic or physical ability. But before undertaking any new activities, seniors should first consult their doctors or physical therapists.
Preventing Falls Caused by Medications
Older adults may take a variety of medications. Unfortunately, these medications can have an array of side effects that can cause:
- low blood pressure;
- weakness; or
- lack of coordination.
Older adults and their caretakers should watch for drug interactions and monitor side effects carefully to ensure that the medications do not lead to a fall. Individuals who take medications that increase the likelihood of falls should be closely monitored to prevent injury.
Preventing Falls Caused by Weather Conditions
Icy or slippery weather conditions can lead to falls in the young and old alike. Older adults, however, may have problems with their balance that prevent them from catching themselves after a slip.
To prevent falls outdoors, make sure sidewalks and walkways have been thoroughly salted and are clear of ice and snow. Keep common areas well lit, and try to avoid going outdoors if conditions are hazardous. People with poor balance should take small, careful steps to prevent slipping on unseen hazards.
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Preventing Falls Caused by an Unsafe Living Environment
Maintaining a safe living environment is one of the most important ways to prevent falls in older adults. Half of all falls resulting in hospitalizations occurred at a person’s home, while 16.5 percent of falls occurred in residential institutions, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, according to the Safer Healthcare Now! report.
An older adult’s living environment should be modified in a way that prevents falls and provides support for individuals with poor mobility or balance. Handrails or guardrails should be installed along stairs and near beds, in the bathroom, or any other place with high traffic.
Contact Preszler Law after an Injury Caused by a Fall
If you or a loved one suffered an injured in a fall, you may be able to recover compensation for damages related to the injury. If your fall could have been prevented or was caused by the negligence of another person or party, you may be able to collect compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and other damages.
The attorneys at Preszler Law fight for people injured in falls. After an injury, call 800-JUSTICE® to set up your consultation at one of our six Ontario offices.