Brain and nerve conditions can occur at any age, from young adults to the very elderly. Most are at risk of falls because of symptoms caused by their conditions and treatment.
These include poor balance, difficulties walking, muscle weakness, poor vision, confusion and side-effects of medication such as dizziness and drowsiness, making it easier to slip or stumble and harder to steady yourself to prevent a fall.
The majority of falls happen at home, and the consequences can be devastating.
“Falls can cause serious injuries such as bone fractures and bleeding in the brain, plus they affect mental well-being. The loss of independence caused by such injuries often causes frustration, and the fear of falling can prevent people from leaving their homes, resulting in social isolation and reduced quality of life,” said Si Qi.
1. Keep walkways clear A cluttered walkway is a fall hazard. To keep walkways clear:
2. Use non-slip matsUnsecured floor mats are a common cause of slips and trips. Ensure floor mats have non-slipping backing that resists movement when stepped on.
3. Install grab bars and rampsHome modifications can reduce the risk of falls in hazardous areas such as bathrooms. Grab bars, ramps (when needed), and slip-resistant treatment to bathroom floor tiles can reduce fall risk, and they can be installed at a subsidised rate through the Housing Development Board’s (HDB) Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme. Click here for more information about EASE, including cost and eligibility.
4. Clean up spillsIt is hard to stay upright on slippery surfaces! Clean up spills as soon as they happen and ask someone for help if you are unable to clean up promptly.
5. Light up the wayFall risk increases in places where lighting is poor. To make it easier to see where you are going:
6. Look after your eyesVision assessment can help prevent falls and also improve your quality of life!
Protect your sight by going for an eye check-up every year or earlier if you notice your vision is getting worse. Many conditions can be treated or halted if picked up in the early stages. Remember to take your spectacles (if any) with you to check if the lens prescription is still correct.
This article was published in the National Neuroscience Institute's NeusLink magazine, which covers articles about NNI updates and brain, spine, muscle and nerve conditions in English and Chinese - to read more articles, click here!
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Caregiver tips to prevent falls in the elderly