How Not to Fall

Falls. It’s a dreaded word and a fear for many. Throw in sensory or strength deficits following a brain injury, and they just became that much more dangerous and their prevention that much more important. 

The costs of falls not only include any injuries and the medical expenses associated with the fall, but also include time away from family, missing important events, having to move prematurely, fear of falling again, avoiding certain activities due to that fear, and having to depend on others more.

For someone that has experienced at least one fall, it begins a cycle that starts with the fear of falling in the future, which leads to less activity,  leading to less strength and balance which leads to more falls.  There are so many reasons that fall prevention is so important, but this is a big one. 

If a  loved one has suffered a brain injury to due to an Aneurysm or an AVM rupture, when navigating the home specifically, there are simple yet very effective strategies you can implement to help them prevent falls:

Decrease the clutter 

First and foremost, it's important to keep the home free of clutter. This means removing any items that could potentially trip them up, such as loose rugs or electrical cords. Make sure that the floors are clean and dry, and that any spills or messes are promptly cleaned up.

Create clear pathways

It's also a good idea to make sure that the furniture is arranged in a way that allows for easy movement. Move any obstacles out of the way, and consider rearranging the furniture to create clear pathways throughout the home.

Increase lighting

Another important step is to ensure that the home is well-lit. This includes installing bright lights in hallways, staircases, and other areas where visibility may be limited. Consider adding night lights to the bedroom and bathroom to help your loved one navigate safely in the dark.

Add more seating options

Consider adding a shower chair or tub bench and an extra chair in the bathroom where your loved one can sit down while dressing, and perhaps, add a chair along any pathway that takes more than a few steps to navigate, in case they need to take a break and rest.

Use an appropriate mobility device 

If you have any concerns about your loved one’s mobility or balance, have them work with a Physical or Occupational Therapist who can help them determine if they might benefit from a mobility device such as a walker or a cane. A therapist will also be able to recommend exercises or other strategies to help your loved one reduce their risk of falling.

Take your time

One of the biggest reasons falls occur is because someone was rushing, especially when it comes to the bathroom. What’s more important than a fall  that could occur on the way to the bathroom is preventing that fal in the first place,  Our bodies take at least a few seconds to regulate when we change positions (going from lying down to sitting up, sitting up to standing up), so remind them to give themselves a few seconds in between positions before moving on.  

Ask for help

Finally, remind them to ask for help when they need it, perhaps if  they feel like they are at risk of falling because they are more tired than usual, are feeling dizzy, or they can’t reach something. Asking for assistance may be just what it takes to prevent a detrimental fall.

Prevention will always trump recovery when it comes to falls. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep your loved ones safe and prevent falls in their home. Remember, falls are preventable, and with a little bit of effort, you can greatly reduce their risk of injury.

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