Long-time readers of TGB probably yawn when they see this headline about falls prevention. I do it twice a year because falls are so serious for elders but at the same time, relatively easy to prevent. It's that time of year again so here goes. Please take a moment or two to refresh your knowledge.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us, via caring.com,
”...falls among older adults are extremely common with an estimated 2.5 million older adults treated for fall injuries in the U.S. every year.
“An estimated 25,000 of those fall injuries result in death. Justifiably so, our research showed that 8 out of 10 caregivers are worried about fall prevention for their loved ones.”
Now that many of us are stuck at home due to COVID-19, we can make good use of some of that time be sure our homes are, as much as possible, fall-proof.
I'll repeat some of my usual suggestions and ideas below but first, here is a new item - a reliable, well-researched, up-to-date guide to the best medical alert systems for 2020 from caring.com. As explained on the website,
”Medical alert systems allow seniors to retain their independence at home and in their communities, while minimizing the risk of further injury or death from falling [and] being unable to receive immediate help.
“While there are many quality, above-board companies in the home medical alert industry, there are also those that are overpriced, misleading or profiting from hidden fees.
“We’ve created this review to shed light on the top home medical alert options so that seniors and their loved ones can easily choose a reputable and affordable home medical alert company that works for them.”
Here are caring.com's top eight choices with reasons for their recommendation:
• Medical Guardian – Best for Premium Features
• MobileHelp – Best for Those Without a Landline
• LifeFone – Best Standalone Mobile App
• Life Alert – Best for Industry Experience and At Saving Lives
• Bay Alarm Medical – Best for Low Monitoring Costs
• Medical Care Alert – Best for EMT/EMD Certified Monitoring
• QMedic – Best for Compliance and Activity Monitoring
• BoomerAlert – Best For Advanced Fall Detection
It's not just a list at caring.com. They provide initial prices for each service and monthly cost for monitoring, how and why they chose each service, pros and cons of each service and more.
So if you or someone you know is considering a falls monitoring service (or should), certainly check out caring.com.
In last September's falls prevention story, several people mentioned the risk of falling that pets and small children can cause. I don't know a solution for people who have pets, but I have had a personal run-in with a kid running at top speed at the entrance to a hospital.
He nearly knocked over a man in wheelchair and almost crashed into me. But his mother did nothing to slow him down or stop him.
It's been about two years since that happened but when I'm in public, I am still warily watching for and nervous about free-range children especially since parents seem to take no heed of their kids' behavior in crowds. (I am well aware that I sound like a “get-off-my-lawn” old man, but I'm only reporting what is, in my experience.)
So, here is a general overview of the things you can do to help fall-proof your home.
There is an excellent website about fall prevention that I had not seen before last fall: Health in Aging.org. It is extraordinarily clear, concise and useful. Here are links to the main sections:
That is not the only good site on this subject - there is an abundance of information online about falls prevention. We should make good use of it because unlike cancer, dementia, COPD, heart disease and other conditions that affect so many elders, we can each have a direct effect on preventing falls.