Falls Happen… so What?
In previous blogs, we’ve emphasized the increasing statistics of falls among seniors and individuals with medical illness. We often look at statistics as information to help increase awareness. We fail to look at what those stats are trying to tell us. It’s important to take a deeper look at the impact of the statistic on individuals. For example, we know that 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 are likely to fall at least once a year. What we don’t focus on is that a fall changes the life of that person who fell.
If someone falls once, they are at risk of fall again, and then the cycle is recurring. It’s easy to identify the physical injuries from a fall, nevertheless, falls often lead to physiological effects such as fear, which limits an individual’s activity and engagement in activities they love which may lead to isolation and depression in the long run.
We know that falls are the cause of 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations, and the number of deaths due to falls have increased by 65% from 2003 to 2008. So what should you do to help those at risk? Increasing death rates due to falls may alarm our healthcare system, but individuals must understand that it’s not just our healthcare’s responsibility to reduce those stats. What we need is an integrative approach to be successful in preventing falls among Canadians. This often requires a closer look at our everyday lives and a behaviour change on behalf of the individual who are at risk.
It’s not enough for you to understand the stats and it affects; it’s essential to address the risk factors to the individual at risk so that they can make appropriate decisions. Your job as a caregiver is not complete just by simply telling them what to do. You must help them understand the significance of a fall and educate them on how they can reduce the risk. In the end, you can’t prevent a fall, you can, however, manage the risks and provide them with a safety net, such as the CHECKMATE SOS to help when their personal safety is at risk.