Falls prevention: 4 helpful tips

Falls prevention in older people

Did you know? Falls are among the biggest threats to older people.

As we get older, our muscle strength and balance may reduce which can result in a fall accident. Although most falls may not cause serious injury, they can possibly leave us feeling quite distressed.

Good news is there are other things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing to help prevent falls from happening.

We’ve put together some useful information to help you understand the cause of falls and some falls prevention tips.

Staying active to avoid falls

Staying active and joining balance class helps prevent falls in older people
To reduce falls risk, it is important we maintain our physical fitness with regular exercise including specific balance exercises.

Keep in mind current Australian guidelines suggest a minimum of 150-min of physical activity a week to maintain current fitness levels, greater amounts are required if wanting to improve fitness.

Exercises are best when specific to individual customers. They need to be achievable but challenging. Progression of exercises as they become easier will ensure improvement in balance and reduce falls risk.

Balance exercises should be aimed at increasing postural awareness, co-ordination, and reflexes (reactions times) and lower limb strength.

Properly fitted and supportive footwear

Check with your podiatrist to see if you have the proper footwear

As we get older, our feet change and footwear needs to change, too. Shoes need to be comfortable, fit well and have adequate support. Feet need to be kept dry, nails should be cut short and any foot changes should be investigated promptly.

It is important to consider issues such as circulation or changes in foot sensation as well as any areas of numbness or foot issues such as pins and needles.

As we age, our foot strength and flexibility declines. Research has shown that foot problems are the main cause of falls. Having your feet examined by a podiatrist is the first step in falls prevention.

A podiatrist can help assess your risk of falls with a history check, assessment, and performance-based falls test. From there, they can make recommendations to help address your foot problems, exercises for feet strength and the right footwear to help prevent falls.

Having a safe home

Falls proof your home to prevent falls

Most falls happen at home, that’s why it is important to keep your home safe. You can fall-proof your house to help you avoid falls and ensure your safety.

Here are some simple steps to get started:

  • Remove clutter or tripping hazards: keep your walking areas tidy and make sure there’s nothing in the way. If necessary, place non-skid mats, strips or carpets on surfaces that easily get wet.
  • Check your lighting to ensure it is adequate – maximising visibility of your footing: remember to turn on night lights before bed or keep a flashlight by your bedside in case the power is out in the middle of the night.
  • Repair broken, uneven or cracked paths, patios, and other walking surfaces
  • Consider equipment or home modifications such as rails or ramps to assist with mobility and transfers: install grab bars in the shower, toilets and baths, railings on stairs and non-slip adhesive strips to stairs.  

Check your eye vision

Having an eye test is one of many ways to prevent falls in older people

Conditions that affect you vision may affect you balance such as Glaucoma, macular degeneration, conjunctivitis, and others.

It is important to have a regular eye check and consider your prescription type to make sure your vision is clear.

Multifocal glasses can result in falls. Recent search has shown that wearing multifocal glasses increases the risk of trips and falls in older people. It is best to see your optometrist for an assessment and advice.

What to do if you fall

Stay still and slow down your breathing. Slow and steady breaths help to keep you calm. Check and scan through your entire body to see if there is any injury.

Look for hazards such as broken glass, or electrical cords before you move, or before you allow anyone to help you up.

Decide if you will get up and if you can get up, think about how you will get off the floor.

If you have tried and can’t get up, rest before trying again to avoid exhaustion. Seek for medical help if you need.

If you can’t get up

Call for help (personal alert, a phone or by calling out). While waiting for help, try to stay as warm and comfortable as possible by using nearby pillows, blankets, or towels.

If you are outside, drag yourself under shelter and try to move out of direct sunlight and off hot paving.

If you can, change position from time to time to take pressure off a part of your body until help arrives.

What you should do after a fall

  • Seek urgent medical help if you start to feel confused, develop a bad headache, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, limb weakness, neck stiffness, feeling tired or fatigued after the fall.
  • Write down the details of the fall (when, what, how).
  • Tell your doctor or health professional about the fall as soon as possible after it happened, even if you are not hurt. He or she can look into possible causes and treatment options. This is particularly important if you are on blood thinners.
  • Talk to your health professional so you can work together to prevent future falls, keep your independence and confidence.
  • Tell your daily contact person about your fall. Stay in contact frequently as injuries may not show up straight away.
Falls, whether once or repeatedly, can be a serious matter that affects both your physical and emotional state.

Fall prevention takes some planning but it’s worthwhile to keep you safe and avoid the risk of falls.

Your best self starts with your best health

ACH Group offers a wide range of allied health services including podiatry, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and group exercises to help support you live well as you age.

We specialise in health and wellbeing for ageing bodies and our qualified health specialists will work with you on a personalised plan to help you achieve your health goals.

Contact us on 1300 22 44 77 and speak to our friendly team and find out how we can help.

April Falls 2024 – Improving balance for falls prevention

Group of older people in a gym, exercising with weights to improve their balance for April Falls month.

April Falls Month 2024

Better balance for fall prevention

April Falls Month® is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of falls and to promote the latest best practice fall prevention strategies.

The Better Balance for Fall Prevention campaign aims to help Australians find appropriate exercise programs to meet your needs and interests.

For optimal physical and mental health, it is recommended that all adults (regardless of age, health, or ability) do 30-60min of physical activity most days. To prevent falls and maintain independence this should include exercise or activities that improve strength and balance. Every bit of activity helps.

Get active and improve balance for fall prevention

Senso training, a health professional and customer at Christie Downs Health Studio

Free Senso Assessments 

For the month of April, ACH Group is offering ACH Group customers free Senso assessments at our Health Studio 50+ Christie Downs.

The initial 90-minute assessment is led by an allied health professional and includes a comprehensive review of your health and individual goals. To book your assessment, call 1300 22 44 77 or speak with our friendly staff at the Health Studio.

Christie Downs Studio Feature Image

Improve your balance with ACH Group Exercise Groups

Balance Program – an eight-week, small group program. Suitable for people who have significant challenges with balance.

Life Exercise – an individualised exercise program based in the gym.

Strong & Steady – focuses on balance and stability by working the major muscles. 

Tai Chi – a  gentle form of exercise, shown to improve coordination, balance and wellbeing.

Did you know?

1 in 4 people who are aged 65 and over have at least 1 fall per year.

People often dismiss falls as ‘part of getting older’ or ‘just not concentrating’ but they are often a warning sign that something is not right.

Even when falls don’t cause an injury, they often trigger a loss of confidence. Over time, this can lead to a person becoming more inactive, which further increases the risk of falling.

Learn more about why falls are concerning especially for older people.

What is ‘a fall’?

Wodlr Health Organisation defines a fall as  ‘An event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground, or floor, or other lower level’.

The definition is important, as people don’t have to fall to the ground, to have a fall, sometimes it can be falling back into a chair or sliding off a chair.

By being clear on what a fall is, we can report all falls and try to prevent serious injuries from falls.

Fall prevention: 4 helpful tips

  1. Stay active to prevent falls
  2. Wear properly fitted and supportive footwear
  3. Fall-proof your home
  4. Get your eyes checked regularly

Learn more about fall prevention and what to do in the event of a fall.

Fall prevention takes some planning but it’s worthwhile to keep you safe and avoid the risk of falls.

ACH Group offers a wide range of allied health services including podiatry, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and group exercises to help support you live well as you age.

We specialise in health and wellbeing for ageing bodies and our qualified health specialists will work with you on a personalised plan to help you achieve your health goals.

Contact us on 1300 22 44 77 and speak to our friendly team and find out how we can help.

April Falls 2023 – Better balance for fall prevention

Exercise physiologist explaining a client h

April Falls Month 2023

Get active and improve balance for fall prevention

April Falls Month® is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of falls and to promote the latest best practice fall prevention strategies.

The overall campaign goal is to get active and improve balance for fall prevention.

ACH Group aims to extend this campaign to increase the understanding of how to get active and improve balance for fall prevention.

Did you know?

  • Many falls can be prevented
  • Injury from falls can be minimised
  • Ageing doesn’t mean loss of independence
  • People fall for a variety of reasons.

Tips for reducing the risk of falls

On our blog we discuss tips for reducing the risk of falls

Self-screening tool

Not sure if you’re at risk? Use the self-screening tool created by Falls Prevention SA to see if you need to speak to a health professional about reducing your risk.

Download: Self-Screening Tool by Falls Prevention SA

Gaining strength and confidence

As we continue to highlight the importance of falls prevention, here’s an inspiring story of how Pat regained her strength and confidence since her knee replacement.

Let us introduce Pat. Pat has been attending the Christie Downs Health Studio for the last 6 month following a knee replacement. Pat was finding that she had become quite worried of falling after surgery but was determined to do something about it.

Twice a week, for the last 6 months, Pat has been attending our life exercise classes which focus on building up her leg strength. Pat has seen a huge improvement in her balance and leg strength during this time.

She has also gone from walking with a walking frame to using a walking stick. Pat is so confident in her balance that she now goes to footy games, including seeing her beloved Adelaide Crows play!

Here’s Pat at Health Studio 50+ Christie Downs attending a life exercise session in the HUR gym, pictured with Darren, ACH Group Personal Trainer; and enjoying going to a recent footy game at the Adelaide Oval. 

The importance to talking to a Allied Health Professional

We shared tips on fall prevention, an inspiring story of how Pat regained her strength after a knee replacement, and now we’d like to introduce you to Geo Kapalungan, who, as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, can play a key role in your health and wellbeing journey.

Geo joined ACH Group Health Studio 50+ in 2021 and has been in the industry for 3 years as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Exercise Scientist.

Geo is passionate about improving customers’ health outcomes through tailored exercise and goal setting, so they can keep doing activities they love. His advice to people who want to restore their health is, ‘Talk to a health professional and have an assessment to determine next steps.’

Photo of Geo, Exercise Physiologist who can play a key role in your health & wellbeing journey.

Who can help you on your health and wellbeing journey?

We shared tips on fall prevention, an inspiring story of how Pat regained her strength after a knee replacement, and now we’d like to introduce you to Geo Kapalungan, who, as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, can play a key role in your health and wellbeing journey.

Staying active and joining balance class helps prevent falls in older people

Fall prevention takes some planning but it’s worthwhile to keep you safe and avoid the risk of falls.

ACH Group offers a wide range of allied health services including podiatry, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and group exercises to help support you live well as you age.

We specialise in health and wellbeing for ageing bodies and our qualified health specialists will work with you on a personalised plan to help you achieve your health goals.

Contact us on 1300 22 44 77 and speak to our friendly team and find out how we can help.

Fall Prevention Seminars

Group of people taking part of a Balance class

Fall Prevention Seminars

In recognition of April Falls Month® ACH Group hosted a series of FREE fall prevention education sessions at our three Health Studio 50+ locations.

Delivered by ACH Group Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists, the 45-minute sessions provided information on fall risks, preventative strategies, what to do in the event of a fall, and how ACH Group’s services can support.

Learn more about tips to prevent falls.

Your best self starts with your best health

ACH Group offers a wide range of allied health services including podiatryexercise physiologyoccupational therapy and group exercises to help support you live well as you age.

We specialise in health and wellbeing for ageing bodies and our qualified health specialists will work with you on a personalised plan to help you achieve your health goals.

Contact us on 1300 22 44 77 and speak to our friendly team and find out how we can help.

 

Unprovoked

Author: Ila McKay

It happened quite unexpectedly and it was unprovoked. So why? What had I done to deserve such treatment?

The day had progressed nicely until now. And it happened at a most inconvenient time. I was getting ready to attend a concert being held in the Retirement Village Hall that afternoon. I had just 10 minutes up my sleeve before I needed to leave. I didn’t have far to go so I was in no hurry.

I was looking forward to catching up with friends after the concert when afternoon tea would be served and we could all sit around and chat. Being a large village with 110 units it was not always possible to see other residents and hall activities were a good way to attend and catch up.

I was nearly dressed ready to leave. I just needed to change one more article of my clothing and I would be set to go. I left the back bedroom to retrieve a best pair of slacks from the main bedroom wardrobe. I preferred to change my clothing in the back bedroom as I felt it was more private.

I chose a pair to complement my blouse and returned to the back bedroom. I was walking past the bed when I felt my left foot being grabbed. In the middle of stepping I had no control of my movement and I felt myself (in slow motion) falling. I could do nothing to save myself and I landed sideways on the carpeted floor. But my head took the full impact of the fall as it hit the wooden bedside cupboard.

BANG! Pain flooded through my skull and I quickly placed my hand over the injured side. I lay there, quietly cursing while trying to get my bearings and wondering how and why this had happened. After a while, and accompanied by groans, I managed to heave my body up off the floor. No mean feat when you get to my age, I can tell you!

When I released my hand from my head, I discovered it was covered in blood. “Yes! That would be right, just my luck!” I moaned, glancing at the clock. I rang my neighbour who lives opposite my unit in the hope that she had not already left to attend the concert. No, she was not going, thank goodness for that. I explained what had happened and she quickly came to my aid.

In one respect, I was lucky I had landed on my left side, as I was still in recovery from a full right hip replacement operation I had some months earlier.

I welcomed my neighbour and relayed the events of my fall. She investigated the wound which was still bleeding and offered to dab Betadine on it. I then applied pressure and, as the wound was not serious, the bleeding quickly stopped. I decided to attend the concert even though I was still shaken, as I felt safer being with people than staying on my own. There was always a case of delayed reaction and I knew help would be on hand.

I finished dressing and when I glanced in the mirror at my reflection, I noticed an orange and red patch of hair. So what? I thought. The young ones today pay a lot of money to have coloured streaks in their hair, so why not me? I just paid for it a different way.

When Joan asked me how the accident happened, I took her in to the bedroom and explained how I had been attacked. The offender was still lying on the bed, legs hanging down, quite unconcerned. NO! It was not an animal. It was the pair of slacks I had previously thrown onto the bed. Unbeknown to me, they had decided to slide down the slippery material of the bed cover and lay in wait for my return. How sneaky! As I walked past, one trouser leg wrapped itself around my foot, causing me to fall. Well, those slacks ended up in the washing machine covered with blood-stained hand prints. The machine will give them a good, well deserved, thrashing.

For the first half hour of the concert, I sat quietly, just listening to the music until my head settled down, and then I enjoyed the rest of the entertainment and the refreshments.

Just be aware. Discarded clothing can be quite vengeful!

– Ila McKay

The Stay on Your Feet website has some great information about preventing falls, including the recommendation to always get checked out by your health professional if you have fallen over and experienced an injury.

ACH Group can also assist with falls prevention. Call 1300 22 44 77 to find out more.