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Most of the causes of falls in the elderly can be prevented, and for that it is necessary to make small changes in the person's lifestyle, such as wearing non-slip shoes and making adaptations in the house, such as having good lighting, for example. example.
Generally, the main risk factor for falls in the 3rd age is aging, which is when there is greater loss of muscle mass, imbalance and visual difficulties increase. The use of inappropriate shoes and clothes, physical inactivity and the presence of objects and steps around the house also contribute to the increase in the occurrence of falls and, therefore, it is important to adopt some measures to avoid them.
The main steps to prevent falls are:
- Wear closed shoes, well adapted to the foot and with non-slip soles, avoiding going barefoot or wearing flip-flops;
- Do not wear long or loose clothing to avoid tripping;
- Do physical activity and stretching exercises every week to keep bones and muscles active;
- Maintain a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to avoid weakening bones and osteoporosis;
- Go to the eye doctor at least 1 time a year, to have your glasses adjusted;
- Making adaptations in the house to facilitate the mobility of the elderly, such as maintaining good lighting, avoiding rugs and objects on the floor, in addition to using grab bars in strategic places, such as bathroom and next to the bed.
Furthermore, other situations, such as the use of medication, the presence of multiple diseases and mental confusion, common situations at this stage of life, contribute to the occurrence of falls, and it is important to identify these situations.
Physiotherapy to prevent falls
Physiotherapy is important for training and recovering agility, strength and balance, especially in the elderly who already have some type of limitation for locomotion, usually caused by diseases such as osteoarthritis, or after having already suffered a fall.
In addition, physical activities are also recommended to prevent falls, as they are useful for preserving muscle strength and motor coordination, and some of the most recommended exercises are tai-chi, brisk walking and weight training.
Exercise in water, such as hydrotherapy, swimming or water aerobics, is also highly recommended, as it offers the benefits of any activity, but without straining the muscles and joints.
How to prepare the home for the elderly
To avoid the occurrence of falls, it is important to make changes in all the rooms of the elderly person's house, in order to make the house safer. They include:
- Light the house well: it is essential that the various rooms are well lit and that at night there is a night light in the room;
- Keep the space in the house ample: it is important to remove furniture, rugs and objects, such as vases, that interfere with the person's movement. In addition, it is important to secure the electrical wires to the wall and, if possible, to a non-slip floor, especially in the kitchen and bathroom;
- Keep objects within reach of the elderly: keep all objects within reach of the person, such as light switches, as well as not using the highest part of the cabinets.
- Using supports: it is important to place safety bars in the house, for example inside the box, which give more balance to the elderly. Some elderly people with walking difficulties may need support such as canes or walkers, as a way to have more security in locomotion;
- Be careful with the steps, which should be avoided, but if this is not possible, it is important to put non-slip strips and paint them with bright colors and by handrail to make it better support.
In some cases, in order for the house to be safe for the elderly, it may be necessary to replace the stairs with a ramp. See more about how the house is adapted for the elderly