Posted on December 20, 2021
Helena Brennert, RN, BSN
HME Clinical Resource Educator
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians accounting for 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations. The good news is that falls can be preventable and avoidable just by using the right equipment. So, let us review different products to assist you!
You might not consider a proper pair of sensible shoes, eyeglasses, and hearing aids as equipment for preventing falls; but these 3 products help.
The next step includes supplementary equipment such as a cane, a walker, a hip protector, handrails, raised toilet seat, grab bars for the shower or tub, and a handheld shower nozzle to use while seated.
A walker is one of the most popular pieces of fall prevention equipment offering extra support and increased stability. Walkers are designed for comfort and support and help seniors feel more secure leaving the house to go shopping, attend social events, visit with family, get exercise and travel. Walkers help indoors, by allowing for greater mobility and easing balance issues or, fear of falling due to health issues. Walkers boost confidence, support independence, and encourage greater freedom to venture out with the bonus of having the walker to sit down on and take a rest anytime, anywhere.
Bathrooms are spaces requiring bending, reaching, and lifting of feet. This type of movement can cause imbalance and falls as bathroom floors and other surfaces can be slippery, too. With no accessible handles to grip onto when in a hurry to get to the toilet, it is easy to risk a fall due to slippage or lack of balance. Non-slip surfaces, grab bars, raised toilet seats, shower stools and hand-held showerheads are all products to consider minimizing falls and injury risks in bathrooms and toilets.
Ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist who can perform a risk assessment and share further information on these simple solutions that are easily accessed and installed. You are also welcomed to call us at HME in Victoria where our friendly and highly specialized team members will listen and suggest equipment based on your needs.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has a brochure called, “The Safe Living Guide – A guide to home safety for seniors”. This public resource has tips, a safety checklist, and much more to help you get started. If you are looking for more information on making your home safer for your loved ones, I recommend you check it out!
Falls are preventable! Research shows that older adults who have one or more falls are three times more likely to fall again within the following year compared with older adults with no history of falls. Be proactive – act now!