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The unspoken threat – How to be proactive about falls

Fiercely independent, socially active and free to do as you wish – what isn’t there to love about retirement? Your time’s your own, your home is your castle and life’s pretty chilled. However, at any age, life can throw you a curve ball in an instant. What starts as an unremarkable morning pottering around the house, ends up with a fall – or near fall – that dents your confidence.

All it takes is a moment of distraction. You fail to register the step into the shower, which you’ve negotiated hundreds of times. Or you’re overcome with dizziness when you stand up. Whatever the cause, a fall is a reminder that we’re all fallible.

The difference is that when we’re a bit older, we don’t always bounce back so quickly. Increased risk factors go with the territory too, including balance issues and vision impairment. So no matter how fit you feel, the reality is that our bones are more prone to breaking, our skin is thinner and a small bump can lead to a significant bruising or bleeding.

What are the falls prevention numbers saying?

While active retirees are stubbornly defying most ageing statistics, some figures are harder to ignore. According to the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society, falls are a major health issue with around 30% of adults over 65 experiencing at least one fall per year. Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation in persons aged 65 years and over, and account for 4% of all hospital admissions in this age group.

It’s natural that any fall or tumble can be a psychological blow and a potential red flag for you – and your loved ones. However some people become overly cautious, unnecessarily limiting the activities they enjoy. But pulling back from activities like gardening, exercising, or socialising can actually lead to a decline in mobility and wellbeing.

The best way to prevent falls

The best approach is to be proactive. Ask a relative, carer or professional falls risk consultant to look at how you live and what could be changed to reduce the likelihood of a fall. Rugs and bathmats are common tripping hazards. Reaching for something that is too high can also throw you off balance. If cleaning makes you dizzy, maybe it’s time to outsource some tasks.

Avoiding a fall in the first place is the best medicine. But with hindsight a few small changes can reduce the risk, while a personal alarm system can make a difference to your physical wellbeing and overall feeling of personal safety.

Armed for life with a personal alarm

Firstly, put aside any preconceptions you have about personal alarms being clunky necklaces that advertise you as being old or frail. A personal pendant alarm can be discrete and unseen, if that’s what you want. While there’s a variety of fancy alarms on the market, the most important benefit is reducing the amount of time it takes to get help if you fall.

Often, all a person will need is a lift to get upright again. Or you might need assistance to dress a minor cut, stabilisation if you do more serious damage or in some cases, a precautionary trip to hospital. The most important thing to remember is that extended periods of lying on the floor are associated with more serious injury and hospital admission. The simplest solution is installing a personal alarm to give you back control and peace of mind.

The good news is technology isn’t just for the grandchildren, there is now also revolutionised smart assistive technology – such as monitored personal alarms for the elderly. Drawing on the benefits of remote monitoring, a Feros Care Smart Hub personal alarm includes a wearable and waterproof pendant that can detect a fall, and a hands-free speaker with microphone which connects with our 24/7 emergency response centre.

So if you have a fall, we’ll know about it – and we can alert your loved ones too. There’s also no-fuss installation, just plug it in and turn it on. Then you can get back to doing what you’ve always done. Because we understand that you have no plans to slow down any time soon!

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