Seniors’ Column

This week's column discusses how to maintain independence by preventing falls.

Interior Health has produced an informative publication which focuses on how we can maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle by preventing falls.

The leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death stands as a major reason for admission to a residential care facility. Although a fall can happen to anyone and anywhere, the result of experiencing a fall is usually more serious, as we age.

The first step in avoiding a fall is understanding what causes it and knowing that many falls are actually predictable and preventable. IHA suggests simple, practical changes along with simple, practical changes and better choices which can be made in order to remain active, independent and also, how to stay balanced and on your feet.

There is no single reason why people fall. It usually occurs when several events happen at the same time. The causes of falls are frequently referred to as risk factors. The more which exist, the greater there is a chance of falling. For example, if one walks down the hallways in the home during the day and without any particular rush, there is little chance of experiencing a fall. However, if it’s the middle of the night and no lights have been turned on, and you are rushing to get to the bathroom, the chances of encountering a fall are increased.

According to IHA falls are not a normal part of aging and there are many things you can do to prevent them. For example, it is important to easily get around in your home and community, and having good vision is essential.

Age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma can make it difficult to see properly at different levels, clearly and from side to side. These challenges can also make glare more of a problem, so remember that properly fitted and prescribed eye glasses which have been kept in good repair, can do much to improve these difficulties.

The following suggestions point to steps you can take to avoid challenges. It is recommended that regular eye exams undertaken by an eye doctor will help to identify age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Choose to wear different or brighter colours as these serve to mark objects in your home which you need to reach for, such as light switches, handrails or grab bars. Also, you can add different coloured strips to the edge of steps in order to show how deep each step is.

Be sure to clean your eye glasses often in order to improve visibility. Increase the amount of light in your entire home try using nightlights, especially in the path from the bedroom through to the bathroom which will help to avoid placing yourself in unsafe situations including a fall.

Review your list oaf daily activities which you undertake for the purpose of determining if there are safer ways of accomplishing everyday tasks.

Next week’s column will include more suggestions on how to reduce taking chances and putting yourself in harms way.

For further information and direction, call the BC Nurse Line (toll free) at 1-866-215-4700.


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