Healthy People 2020 Older Adults: Injury Prevention by Jared Davis

  • Pretest:
  • 1. Should your cane be on the same side as affected leg or opposite?
  • 2. True or false, every year 1 out of 3 older adults fall every year
  • 3. Name one house hold factor that could lead to a fall
  • Total Score: 1/3
  1. Information that you NEED to know:
  2. "Falls, the leading cause of injury among older adults, are treated in emergency departments every 13 seconds and claim a life every 20 minutes. Every year, 1 out of 3 older adults fall, yet less than half tell their doctor." ( Helathy People 2020)
  3. History of falls increases the risk for another fall accident to occur. According to a California Health Interview study, "of an estimated 4.3 million eligible elderly participants in the CHIS an estimated 527,340 (12.2%) fell multiple times in the previous 12 months. Fewer than 41 % had made preventive changes to avoid future falls" (Qin, 2016)
  4. Since you use a cane to get around due to your bad knees, it is important for you to understand how to properly use a cane. Canes are great devices that improve balance as you walk and can help compensate for an injury.
  5. The first step is to find a cane that works best for you. You prefer the quad cane, which helps give you a broader base of support, with a foam grip that molds to your hand. The fit of the cane is extremely important. With the cane in your hand, your elbow should bend comfortably and the top of the cane should line up with the crease in your wrist with arm fully extended. When walking, the cane should be held in the hand opposite of your weak or painful leg. Move the cane along with the affected leg. This will give you support as you walk. (Mayo Clinic)
  6. Always check the tips of the cane. The tips of the cane helps provide traction on surfaces. If the tips look worn replace the tip at a pharmacy or medical supply store.
  7. Video on proper cane use!! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sFMEmG6YKDI
Selecting the correct fit
Visual of placement of cane
  • One important piece that you wanted more information on was common at home tips to prevent falls. Below are interventions that can prevent falls from occurring while at home.
  • Wear sensible shoes. These should be proper fitting, sturdy shoes that have nonskid soles. These can also reduce joint pain.
  • Remove home hazards: Remove boxes and electrical cords from walkways. Secure loose rugs with slip resistance backing or remove rug. Store clothing, dishes, and food within easy reach.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub and shower.
  • Light up your living space.
  • Use assistive devices: Cane, hand rails on stairways, a raised toilet seat, and grab bars on shower.
  • Always stay active.
  • Postural hypotension can cause falls. When getting up or laying down always sit for a few minutes to prevent blood pressure from dropping.
  • Information found at Mayo Clinic.
Use hand rails!

The most important barrier that must be overcome is the fear of falling. The fear of falling prevents people from going out in public and from people staying active. With the proper use of the cane this fear can be limited. With the use of the cane safety is improved and allows for you to do the things you love. Another barrier that must be overcome is having your vision checked. "Those who wear multi focal lenses are more than twice as likely to fall, particularly outside their homes, than those who do not wear multi focal lenses. Proving older people who are active outdoors with single lens distance glasses reduces falls"(Al-Aama, 2011). A simple eye exam can result in newer and better glasses that can reduce your risk of falls. Also eye exams by ophthalmologist can detect any early eye diseases or disorders. These are reasonable task that can be completed by you to live a safe life.

Using a cane properly will allow you to do activities that you love to do. Proper cane use will first limit the number of falls you experience and can decrease your fear of falling again. Using a cane will allow you to go outside and feed the birds, get to and from truck safely, and can motive you to go out with friends more. With having the ability to get around safely you can attend bingo with your friends and go out to eat with your kids and grand kids.

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One way that you can take action to prevent falls is to properly fit your cane. The cane should be shaped to fit your body build. With your cane you can make the stick part larger or smaller. Another way that you can take action is to arrange your house in a safe manner. You can set up your house the way that it fits you best, such as sleeping downstairs to prevent extra use of stairs, and placing items that are at your height level. Lastly, you can do exercises to promote strength and to prevent disabilities. Some simple home exercises are below.

Safe and easy exercises

One community resource that can help prevent falls and the fear of falling is A Matter of Balance. A Matter of Balance is an 8 week program to help you recognize and address factors in your life and lifestyle that may increase your risk of falling. https://aging.ohio.gov/steadyu/resources/matterofbalance.aspx

Another community resource that can help prevent falls is Fall Scape. Fall Scape uses each individuals unique mobility, environment, and functional status to create personalized interactive multimedia training sessions and evaluations. http://fallscape.org

  • Post Test:
  • 1. Should your cane be on the same side as affected leg or opposite?
  • 2. True or false, every year 1 out of 3 older adults fall every year
  • 3. Name one house hold factor that could lead to a fall
  • Total Score: 3/3

Sources

Al-Aama, T. (2011, July). Falls in the elderly: Spectrum and prevention. Retrieved March 05, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135440/

Fall prevention: Simple tips to prevent falls. (n.d.). Retrieved March 05, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/fall-prevention/art-20047358?pg=1

Older Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved March 05, 2017, from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/older-adults

Qin, Z., & Baccaglini, L. (2016). Distribution, Determinants, and Prevention of Falls among the Elderly in the 2011–2012 California Health Interview Survey. Public Health Reports, 131(2), 331-339. doi:10.1177/003335491613100217

Slide show: Tips for choosing and using canes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 05, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/multimedia/canes/sls-20077060?s=6

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