Monday, 9 June 2014

Injury prevention in older age - risk reduction for senior citizens

Injury prevention in older age (over 70 years)

Leading cause of injuries in older adults

  • ·      Falls (bone fractures, joint dislocations, etc.)
  • ·      Choking
  • ·      Heatstroke
  • ·      Burns

Risk factors

The aging process causes changes in people related to normal mental and physical capacities:

  • ·      Diminution of vision;
  • ·      Degenerative joint disease (pain causes less mobility);
  • · Osteoporosis (progressive bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density);
  • ·      Decrease in strength and flexibility;
  • ·      Slowness in the posture control.

Tips to prevent injuries

Sometimes a lifestyle modification is necessary. Physical activity has to be adapted to current capacity.

It is important:
  • ·  Weight control (if there is overweight) and moderate exercise are beneficial with respect to pain and function in the knees and hips worn by aging;
  • ·      Remove clutter at home. Do not leave objects on the stairs or walkways;
  • ·      Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom;
  • ·      Avoid loose rugs to avoid tripping;
  • ·      Use hand grip bars in the bathroom and shower area;
  • ·      A shower unit is preferable to a bathtub;
  •     Be sure the bottom of the bath tub or shower has a non-slip surface;
  • ·      Avoid contact sports. There is more risk of injuries than in other kinds of sport;
  • ·      No standing on unstable areas (chairs, ladders, etc.);
  • ·      Balanced diet (plenty of water, fruit vitamins, vegetables, no diets high in animal protein etc.);
  • ·   Avoid going outside during the hottest hours of the day and protect yourself from the sun by using sun cream, wearing a sun hat and sun glasses and walking in the shade;
  • ·      Home care and assistance (with centralized called device, for example).

Home care and assistance

Home care is the resource system directed to help and care for  people at home when they cease to be fully autonomous, for any reason (they are usually elderly).

There are three types of services:
  •          Personal attention service;
  •      Home care service;
  •      Integration in the environment service.

There are also other services like:
  • ·      Telecare
  • ·      Adaptation to housing
  • ·      Meals on wheels
  • ·      Laundry at home
  • ·      Nursing or physiotherapy at home, etc.

Telecare allows calling from home in case of emergency. The person has a button (medallion or bracelet) and a hands free system that allows communication with a control unit 24 hours a day. When the person presses the button, a care control operative contacts the user through a loudspeaker that allows communication between the two to resolve the problem, that may include sending a doctor, ambulance or firemen, as necessary.

Elena Miguel Poza - Nurse, nursing coordinator & trainer - Enfermera coordinadora y profesora de enfermería - IMTRA Instituto Madrileño de Traumatologia (Madrid Spain)
Tel: (0034) 915545405 Email: Web site in English: Web site in Spanish:

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