Flipping through the channels the other day I stopped on an episode of hoarders. Of course the lady had too much stuff in her home making it difficult to walk much less function on a daily basis.
It reminded me of a house I visited years ago when I was doing home health care. I got a call to see a lady who was falling frequently due to weakness and deconditioning.
When I entered the house all I could see was stacks and stacks of paper.
The living room, halls, bedrooms and dining room all had stacks on stacks of paper and stuff. There were clothes everywhere, boxes, food, trash bags, you name it, it was all in the house.
The funny thing is that the patient reported that she “felt safe” walking in her home because the path was so narrow she always had something to hold onto. Even if it was a trash bag!!!
She said this even though she was just released from the hospital, after being treated for fall related injuries.
On one hand she had a point, most falls that occur in the home usually happen in larger rooms such as the bedroom or living room, vs a bathroom or narrow hallway. People tend to bounce around like a pinball in those smaller spaces and magically are able to stay upright.
Since about 60% of falls occur in the home, today I want to give you a few things to look at to make sure you are safe in your own home.
If you would like a free checklist to reduce falls in the home then CLICK HERE.
I have shared these statistics before but I believe they are worth repeating.
According to the CDC falls are the leading cause of injuries in seniors and 1/3 of all adults over 65 will fall this year. Each fall is potentially life changing.
Falls can cause injury or fractures that can lead to multiple surgeries and lengthy hospital stays.
Falls often lead to hospitalizations due to serious injuries or fractures, often causing you or a loved one to move into an assisted living center. In the most severe cases a fall can shorten your life span and lead to early death.
The NCOA- National Council on Aging states that:
Every 11 seconds someone is treated in the hospital for a fall
Every 19 minutes someone dies from a fall or fall related issues
In a prior post I discussed what makes up your balance system and common reasons we fall. Click HERE to read more.
So what do you need to look out for in your own home to make it safer?
One of the most common things I hear people say (regarding their fall) is that they “just didn’t pick up their feet”. In other words they were shuffling along and caught a toe on the carpet, throw rug or extension cord.
When I evaluate their gait (the way they walk) I see that they are not picking up their feet, this is usually due to poor strength in the legs which contributes to poor balance and loss of confidence.
In the home you should look for these hazards:
If you are using a cane or walker make sure that you have it with you at all times vs thinking “I will be alright this one time”. —Famous last words!!!
Lack of confidence is another reason people fall. When their balance is poor, or they have fallen it is only natural for them to start to lose confidence in their ability to walk. This leads to a vicious cycle of repeated falls and injuries.
I have experienced this in the clinic. Someone will turn loose of their walker as they approach the treatment table. Instead of taking it all the way to the table they stop short and lean/reach forward trying to grab the table before sitting down.
This lack of confidence in taking full steps and not using the walker appropriately can lead to risky behavior causing them to lean outside of their center of balance or stumble around from object to object trying to stay upright.
As you think about these things in your home (or aging parents home) work to come up with a solution that will make the environment safer and hopefully reduce the risk of falling.
If you would like a free checklist to reduce falls in the home then CLICK HERE.
The good news is that the more proactive you are in preventing falls, maintaining strength and balance you can actually reduce your risk of falls.
The truth is that several studies have shown that performing a specific balance and strengthening program can actually reduce your fall risk by 30-54%.
What do these programs involve and what can be done to treat balance and dizziness problems successfully thus reducing falls and the likelihood of becoming a statistic?
I covered these three topics in more detail in another post but basically you need to address:
- Mobility– working on the flexibility of your ankles, knees and hips can help to avoid falls and injuries. By being able to freely move the joints of your lower legs you are capable of adapting to different terrain or objects.
- Strength– mobility without strength just makes you “floppy”. Having mobile and strong ankles, knees, hips along with a stable core help you during your daily activities such as walking, getting in and out of your car as well as climbing stairs.
- Balance— yes you can improve your balance and reaction times but the key is to do it in a controlled environment so it is safe. By modifying the surface you stand on and whether you are static (not moving) vs moving can give your balance system the appropriate challenge while avoiding injury.
The key is to be proactive in your health. For us this would be at least Phase III in The MAGICAL 5 Phases of Healing we use here at MOSS to help you quickly Get Out Of Pain And Back To Normal After An Injury Or Surgery.
Working with seniors over many years it has become apparent that the greatest common denominator is the fear of falling. This is not unreasonable
A serious fall and injury can lead to hospitalization. If that isn’t bad enough, frequent falls lead to loss of independence, limits in your daily activities, and increases your reliance on friends and family members to complete basic everyday tasks. How humiliating is it to ask someone to get your groceries or drive you to the doctors office?
Falls will shake your confidence, disrupt your normal walking patterns and lead to using a cane or walker just to get around. For those who are too stubborn or hard headed to use a device or get help the fall and injury cycle continues to repeat often with dire consequences.
If you would like a free checklist to reduce falls at the house then CLICK HERE.
“I came to MOSS because of balance problems. I had this problem for a very long time and even though it is not completely gone, I have a lot more confidence and less fear of falling.” -Betty Norheim
This is where we come in. As experts in the muscular system we can assess and then design a plan to improve your balance and help prevent falls. Actually I have been doing this for over 23 years.
Most recently I lost my grandmother to a fall so the importance of maintaining strength and preventing falls takes on a personal relevance for me and I want to help you as well.
I shared some of the fall statistics earlier in this post: 1/3 of all adults over 65 will fall this year , every 11 seconds someone is treated in the hospital for a fall, every 19 minutes someone dies from a fall or fall related issues
…don’t become a statistic.
Let us help.
At MOSS Rehabilitation Center we make it easy for you to get started. We even have a simple 3 step process.
1. Schedule a FREE NO Obligation, Discovery Visit with one of our experts. During this visit, you will talk with one of our friendly experts about your issues. This is a safe and confidential visit, you can trust that your safety and privacy is important to us.
2. Receive a Customized (Individualized) Treatment Plan. Based on your free discovery visit, we will put together a custom, unique to you plan that will address all of your nagging pains and issues. The goal is to get you back to your healthy self as soon as possible while also addressing your issues for the long term.
3. Get Your Life Back and Do What You Love. The best result for us is a patient who tells us they can finally do what they love without the constant pain, stress, or issue they were facing. Together we can get you back to living life without worry.
If you are looking for guidance and need more information to prevent falls and learn How To Stay Out Of A Nursing Home FOREVER then call our office to request my 100% FREE Report Top 8 Secrets To Improve Your Balance And Prevent Falls.
Or if you want the report right now, please CLICK HERE and you can download it instantly.
To Your Health,
PS. If you or someone you know is suffering with frequent falls, stumbling and poor balance then give us a call 817-220-MOSS (6677) to schedule a FREE No Obligation Discovery Visit