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Source: Media Outreach

Elderly fall accidents are preventable.
High probability of falling for the elderly.
Winter- The peak season for elderly falling.
Physical exercise prevents elderly falls.

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 4 January 2021 – The Department of Health in 2013 stated that, in Hong Kong, people over the age of 65 are more likely to fall at home. About one out of every five elders living in the community will fall; 75% of them will be injured, resulting in fractures and head injuries. Today we are pleased to invite Dr Tio Man Kwun, Peter, who has extensive orthopaedic specialists experience to discuss the prevention of falls in older adults.

Dr Tio Man Kwun, Peter – Prevention is an excellent way of avoiding a fall
Undoubtedly, no one would object to saying that the elderly fall easily. People are getting old, and flexibility will eventually decrease. But what the public does not know is that the elderly fall can be prevented. It is not a must experience that happens for every elderly. The elders will not fall for no reason. They can be prevented from falls as long as they correctly assess the risk of falling accidents in their living environment and control them; every elder can avoid falling.

A relatively high probability of falling

The Department of Health 2013 stated that, in Hong Kong, there is about 20% of elders aged 65 and above involved in a fall. There are 75% among the elderly who will be injured, mainly fractures or severe head trauma. An average of 5% of elders who went to the Elderly Health Centre of the Department of Health for the examination have fallen twice or more. The studies have also shown that the chance of falling again is four times higher than the elderly who have not involved in a fall before. According to the above data, falling is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the elderly, and this must not be ignored. The most common injuries for elderly falling are fractures, including injuries to the hands, feet, lumbar, lumbar spine and hip joints. The wrists and feet can be treated with plasters, but in severe cases, surgery is necessary.

Dr Tio Man Kwun, Peter explained: Is there peak season for elderly falling

Dr Tio Man Kwun, Peter, a specialist in orthopaedics, said that people over the age of 60 should concern more to the problem of falls. Based on Dr Tio’s experience, two leading causes result in the elderly to fall. The two leading causes are the elders wearing heavy clothes in winter and using low-quality crutches or walking aids. Besides, Dr Tio also said that the elders generally wear more and thicker clothing to keep warm in winter. This may make their physical activities more inflexible and significantly increasing the risk of falling. According to Dr Tio’s experience, more than ten elders per day are admitted to the hospital due to falls in winter. Therefore, in addition to keeping warm when entering the cold winter, elders should also pay attention to keeping their bodies flexible to avoid falling. Using the quality of walking aids such as canes, crutches, and walking devices can also prevent the elderly from falls.

How can elders prevent from falling

As aforementioned in this article, elderly fall accidents are preventable. Prevention is always better than cure. Elderly fall accidents are preventable. Dr Tio Man Kwun shared some prevention means to reduce the chance of falling. First, keep the debris in your home as low as possible on the floor. If the floor is damaged or uneven, it should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent the elderly from tripping. Keep the home clean and dry, and keep the indoor light sufficient to reduce the chance of slipping. The elderly can also use walking sticks to assist walking, even at home. Non-slip rubber mats can be placed in the bathtub or shower, and handrails can be installed where necessary.

In terms of diet, try to consume high-calcium foods such as milk, beans, dried fruits and nut. Many fish and vegetables can also provide rich calcium. Elderly eating more high-calcium foods can help prevent osteoporosis in the event of a fall. It can also reduce the chance of fracture. The aged-adults are encouraged to go outdoor more because when the skin receives ultraviolet radiation, it helps calcium absorption. Thereby, it will increase bone density, enhancing bone elasticity, helping to strengthen bones, and also helpful for backaches, joint inflexibility and other problems.

Fall Prevention: Balance and Strength Exercises for Older Adults

Dr Tio encouraged the elderly to do more physical exercise as it is undoubtedly indispensable to prevent falls.  He also suggested that ageing adults should do more stretching activities to increase the flexibility of muscles and joints. Other exercises such as cycling, Tai Chi and others are also recommended because these practices can improve body balance and muscle sensibility. If being persistent in exercising, it can slow down muscle atrophy and degeneration. Not only young people can go to the gym. Senior citizens can also consider light weight-bearing exercise in the gym because weight-bearing exercise can significantly help osteoporosis. They can also perform weight training on certain parts of the body according to their physical conditions. But no matter what kind of exercise, they must remember to do enough warm-up exercises before starting.

Also, since osteoporosis develops gradually over the years, there is no symptom or discomfort. Regular bone density checks can diagnose osteoporosis earlier.

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