We asked Cara Johnson, a qualified Occupational Therapist from Enable Me Sussex for her top tips on avoiding falls this Autumn.
During the 18 years that I have been a qualified occupational therapist, I have seen a large number of people being admitted to hospital following a fall. A simple fall can sometimes result in a lengthy hospital stay and can affect an individual’s mobility and confidence.
Following a few simple guidelines may reduce the likelihood of a hospital admission:
Keeping active will keep you warm and will help to maintain strength and stamina to carry out everyday activities. This will help you to maintain your level of independence.
Eat and drink well
Keeping up your fluid intake may reduce the likelihood of a urine infection. Typical symptoms include cloudy or dark urine, strong or foul-smelling urine, the need to pass urine frequently. There are also a number of less known symptoms that a urine infection may cause which include: confusion, delirium, or agitation in older people, poor motor skills or loss of co-ordination, all of which increase the risk of falls.
Look at your floor coverings
Are they cluttered? Are there tripping hazards? Rugs are an occupational therapist’s enemy – feet or walking aids may get caught on the edges of them causing trips and falls. I get many a roll of the eyes or a “is it necessary?” when advising that rugs need to be removed. If you don’t want to get rid of that rug, make sure it is secure or not rolling up at the edges!
Are you having difficulty getting on/off furniture?
If so, consider getting advice to raise furniture, or to look at the most appropriate aid /adaptation to make transfers easier. Consider a firmer cushion or mattress. Consider grab rails on walls by the toilet or shower, and / or the front and back doors.
Review what you are wearing on your feet if you are having difficulty walking. Avoid high heels & slippers without heels – especially on the stairs.
Don’t put off going to see the GP or practice nurse about subtle symptoms that may be affecting you and your ability to manage everyday activities. Catching conditions early really does make a difference to your comfort and prognosis.