According to the statistics, there is 1 elder had experienced falls at least once in every 5 elders aged 65 or above. Among every 10 elders who had falls, there is 1 elder had serious injury or fractures. Falls can be prevented, falls prevention strategies could be classified into intrinsic, environmental and behavioural factors as follows:
1. Intrinsic factor: chronic patients and side effects caused by medications. Chronic diseases such as stroke, dementia, diabetes mellitus, or eyesight deterioration including cataract or macular degeneration, might increase the risk of fall. Besides, dizziness or sleepiness which are caused by medications would also be the risk factor of fall. Chronic patients should pay attention to how your body responds to the drugs. It is advised to sit and wait for 1 minute when you try to get up from bed, then stand up slowly. Seek medical attention to assess visual acuity if you have eyesight deterioration. Also, wear sunglasses instead of progressive lens to reduce the risk of fall.
2. Environmental factor: beware of the indoor and outdoor environment. Home safety is an important factor of fall prevention. Sufficient lighting; remove miscellaneous objects in the corridor with installing motion sensor lights in rooms and the corridor; use non-slip brick in bathroom, install handrails and avoiding using bathtub; keep the bathroom clean and dry; remove doorsills or put sharp-coloured stickers on. For outdoor activities, it is suggested that footwear should be fit-sized, with non-slippery soles and ankle support as protection.
3. Behavioural factor: self-care and avoid risky actions. Quit drinking, use assistive devices and ask for help when needed. Elders are advised to do muscle strengthening and balance exercises frequently.
Once slip and fall, elders should keep calm and take appropriate steps to help themselves. First, assess the level of injury and move slowly if not severe, move along the ground to walls or stable furniture, then climb up with the support of furniture. If you cannot stand up, you may make a call by using the Personal Emergency Link Service or open the main door and ask for help loudly. Consult a doctor quickly if you note any difficulty in moving or in severe pain.