Why falling is such a big issueBy White Lion Alerts
In Australia, we are lucky to be living longer and enjoying better health than the generations before us. And, living longer means we want to live in our own homes for as long as we possibly can as well. Supervised accommodation and hostel living play an important role for some of the elderly population, but there are many older people who want to maintain their independence as long as possible by remaining in their own home.
Falling is one of the biggest dangers for an elderly person. Sometimes a fall occurs as a result of a more major problem, such as a stroke or heart attack. But many falls are also the result of an accidental slip or trip, with the biggest danger being the delay before help arrives.
“Push Button” alarm systems have been used in the past, but rely on the person who has fallen being able to activate the system. White Lion Alerts offers a system where the emergency alert is activated automatically when a person falls. There is no need for the person who has fallen to do anything – Help is immediately on its way. (Of course if there is a fall and no injury or help is required, the alert can be cancelled.)
Studies have shown that elderly people who fall and are on the floor for a long time (more than an hour) are more likely to suffer complications.
• 20% of patients admitted to hospital because of a fall, have been on the ground for more than an
hour (Vellas et al)
• 47% of non-injured fallers are unable to get up unassisted (Tinetti et al)
• 50% of those who lie on the floor for an hour or longer die within 6 months, even if there is no direct
injury from the fall (Wild et al)
The fall may not be avoidable but the complications can be minimised or even avoided with early assistance.
Why do elderly people fall? We don’t have a comprehensive answer, and many of the issues are associated with aging-impaired health, specifically vision and medication. Proper management and prevention are the best solutions, but where that has not been possible, early detection will possibly save a faller’s life.
The fear of falling is a significant factor in the loss of independence.
Tinetti ME, Liu WL, Claus EB. Predictors And Prognosis Of Inability To Get Up After Falls Among Elderly Persons. Journal of the American Medical Association 1993;269:65-70. Vellas B, Cayla F, Bocquet H, de Pemille F, Albarede JL. Prospective Study Of Restriction Of Activity In Old People After Falls. Age and Aging 1987;16:189-93. Wild D. Nayak US, Isaacs B. How Dangerous Are Falls In Old People At Home? British Medical Journal (Clinical Research) 1981;282:266-8.