Simple Ways to Prevent Client Falls

As a caregiver, you can do a great deal to keep your client from falling. Preventing falls will help clients stay healthy, active and able to stay living independently.
  1. Don't encourage talking with your client while walking. They will tend to turn to look at you. Turning the head causes dizziness. Not looking where you are going is a recipe for disaster. It is very dangerous. Teach them to look where they are going. Walking requires full concentration.
  2. Encourage your clients to take all possible precautions if they wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom. This is when balance is the worst and hazard is highest. Use the walker. Put on good shoes, not slippers or slip ons. Make sure there is enough light. Make sure a path is available from the bed to the bathroom that your client can hold onto. Do not expect your balance to be ok in the middle of the night.
  3. Extended sitting is a big problem. Every hour of extended sitting reduces blood flow to the extremities by as much as 50%. Walking for 5 minutes each hour of extended sitting eliminates the trouble. Have your client get up once an hour to get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, or simply walk around the room. If walking is difficult, seated exercise can substitute. Foot exercises and leg stretches are great as are lower back releases.
  4. The most important thing you can do to help your client avoid falls is to exercise regularly, with their doctor’s approval of course. The single action of establishing a consistent movement routine exponentially reduces the risk of falls. Participate in the workout along with your client. Try to keep to consistent scheduling.
Keep in mind that most falls are caused either by something foolish or something unexpected. If your client takes balance classes consistently even foolish things that normally would cause them to fall become less risky. For instance, if your client learns to pick her feet up, she won't be as likely to trip on sidewalk cracks. Just this morning, a student reported having tripped over a child’s toy on the kitchen floor. She stepped to the side and grabbed a nearby chair AND DID NOT FALL. She was able to respond this way because she takes balance classes regularly. The silver lining is that she feels so much more self confident and proud of herself because she was able to do this. A great boost for someone getting older.
About Vanessa: Vanessa Kettler is the creator, developer and producer of Building Better Balance, a series of 4 DVDs that help seniors improve their balance and prevent having falls using unique, easy, safe techniques. She is an experienced educator in the field of elder exercise as well as being a professional dancer at the age of 71. Find out more about innovative and effective ways to prevent having falls: The Balance Blog The BALANCE NEWS Archive