Injuries from falls are something we typically associate with winter.
But the danger is year round, especially for seniors.
Joy Hollowell tells us about a new program at Eastern Maine Medical Center to prevent falls.
“One and three older adults, so greater than 60 years of age, will have a fall during the year,” says Anna Moses. She’s a trauma coordinator at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Last year, they treated 331 fall victims. more than half were 60 and older.
“Falls down stairs can cause major trauma injuries,” says Moses. “Head injuries, rib fractures. It can be very debilitating and have life long impact.”
That’s why the hospital has started a new program called Shedding Light on Injury Prevention. When fall patients are discharged from the ER, they’re given a packet.
“And what it contains simply is a motion control night-light,” explains Moses. “And, there’s a house assessment checklist, 10 basic questions, just to look at – Hey, is my house at risk to fall?”
Moses says the danger spots are everywhere.
“You think in the bathtub, if you don’t have non-skid mats or the little non-skid stoppers in your bathtub,” she says. “Something as simple as water on the floor. Mats on the floor are a huge fall risk to trip over. So we recommend having non-stick tape on those if you do choose to use them. Really, not using them at all is a better choice. Pets are a huge fall risk. In the dark, you can fall over a pet.”
Even if someone isn’t injured in a fall, they can develop a fear of falling again.
“Which in turn makes them not perform activities,” says Moses, “makes them more home-bound, which in turn makes them more at risk for falling because they’re not doing these weight-baring activities that keep them strong.”
For more information on making sure your home is free from falls, log onto www.eaaa.org