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April Falls Day Fall Prevention Month

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

This month we are highlighting fall prevention particularly in the elderly. April Falls Day is on the 4th and it aims to increase awareness of the key factors that contribute to falls such as malnutrition, dehydration and delirium.

Older people can experience serious consequences to their health if careful attention is not paid to their nutrition, levels of hydration and strength.

Avoiding unsteadiness and dizziness is a big factor in reducing the incidence of fall-related injuries which can devastate an older person’s quality of life.

What Can You Do?

Have a look around and be that extra pair of eyes!

Does the elderly person have a lot of uneven surfaces to walk upon?
Are there stairs and slopes?
Are they familiar with their environment or do they forget where they are?
Is there a plan in place in case of a fall? Who will be notified?
Can you create a plan in case of a fall?

How to Prevent Falls and What to Look Out For

A balanced diet is vital in maintaining protein levels in the muscles which staves of muscle wasting or a loss of strength. Unintended weight loss or being undernourished may lead to a visit to hospital which may increase the likelihood of falls, hip fractures or osteoporosis.

Older people with confusion or dementia have increased risks of dehydration or being undernourished.

The elderly may not be able to think ahead in relation to what and when they eat. They may have constraints around their finances or may be isolated or unable to drive. Medications may also have an affect on their awareness of hunger or appetite.

Challenges in using cutlery or even swallowing could adversely impact upon their levels of nutrition.

Exercise and activity can contribute to better well being for the elderly as well as minimising the risk of falls. Taking up a gentle exercise that concentrates on balance and strength such as Tai Chi can increase the feeling of well being and confidence in moving around.

Below are some resources addressing nutrition and exercise that can help prevent falls and keep the older people in our lives feeling safer on their feet and confident in maintaining their mobility.

2018 APRIL FALLS DAY RESOURCES

Nutrition and Hydration in Hospital
Nutrition and Hydration in Community Settings
Nutrition and Hydration in Residential Aged Care Facilities