Posts Tagged ‘preventing falling’

How to Prevent the Elderly from Falling

Here’s some more great tips from eHow (I’ve edited it a bit to pertain to our site – this has to do with the elderly more than just dizzy patients).

1) The house of the elderly should be well-lighted. Rugs and carpets should be kept away and or well tacked. Railings should be present at stairways and even the bathroom.

2) Walkways should be smooth and free from obstructions. Toys and other unnecessary things around the living room should be kept lest these could cause the elderly to slip and fall.

3) Electrical cords and even telephone cords and chargers should be kept and or set aside in order not to block the walkways.

4) Do not let the elderly climb the stairs alone. Make sure they wear a non-skid sole shoes.

5) Make sure the elderly can access his/her medicine(s) easily.

6) Check with the doctor on the medicines whether these could cause dizziness to the elderly. Have their eyesight, hearing and blood pressure checked since these could be one of the causes for the elderly to fall and be seriously injured.

If You are Dizzy and You Fall

All dizzy patients do not fall, but it can happen. Here are some great tips on what to do if you do fall, how to prevent falls and some lines you can use to add some humor to the situation if you fall (and you aren’t seriously hurt).

If You Fall:

  • Before you attempt to get up, take an inventory of yourself to be sure you haven’t been seriously hurt. If you have been injured, ask someone to call 911 for you.
  • Stay in control. Well-meaning bystanders may rush to your side to help. And may rush to get you upright. Calmly tell those around you how you intend to get up and how they can assist you. Maintaining composure keeps you in charge.
  • Bring some humor to the situation! Humor relaxes you and those around you and makes it easier to recover your self-esteem. Be prepared with some funny comebacks just in case (see box below).
  • Say thank you to anyone who has helped. Graciousness goes a long way in maintaining your dignity.

    How to Not Fall:

  • You are at risk of falling if you have balance problems, spasticity, or weakness in your legs. Work with a physical therapist to learn how to walk and move more safely. A PT can also teach you the safest ways to get up from a fall.
  • If, after working with a PT, you still struggle with falling, consider using a cane, walker, or a brace. Often people avoid this step because they want “to look normal” but falling doesn’t look normal and can hurt you!
  • Wear safe, low-heeled shoes.
  • Be conscious of where you are walking. For instance, stay away from a freshly washed floor.
  • Make your home safe. Keep the areas where you walk clear. Move electric cords and telephone wires out of the way. Tack down loose carpets or remove them. Apply no-slip strips to tile and wooden floors.

    Bring Some Humor to Your Fall (unless you are seriously hurt):

  • We all have our ups and downs.
  • Something is telling me I need a rest.
  • When did they redo the ceiling?
  • You know, it’s so much cooler down here.

    Controlling Symptoms and 21st Century Technology


     TVs, computers and other technology have come a long way over the years and now there are some ideas on what technology to use to minimize the symptoms of vestibular disorders.

    1) Replace an old-style cathode-ray tube (CRT) computer monitor–the large, heavy kind–with a flat-panel LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen. CRT monitors, because of the way the images are painted onto the screen, are more prone to flickering, particularly toward the edges of the screen. This increases eyestrain and difficulty in focusing.

    2) Choose LCD displays over plasma. Plasma monitors may have a wider viewing angle and more vibrant colors, but their images tend not to be as sharp as those displayed by an LCD monitor or TV. Lack of sharpness increases focusing problems.

    3) Don’t look for TVs and monitors with a high level of brightness. The amount of light produced by a screen is measured in candelas per square meter, abbreviated as NITS. Anyone suffering from inner-ear maladies should look for a brightness level equal to or less than 300 NITS.

    4) Keep the resolution of the display at the setting recommended by the manufacturer. Changing it will degrade the images, increasing the likelihood of problems in individuals with vestibular problems.

    5) Purchase an LCD HDTV or widescreen flat-panel LCD computer monitor–as wide as you can afford. These are more likely to be free of flicker, and offer the most flexibility in viewing.


  • When electronics shopping, take along protective devices like baseball caps to cut down on overhead lights, and ear plugs to blunt the noise level.
  • Use a shopping cart if available. The extra support may prevent attacks of vertigo.
  • Keep your monitor or television turned to the lowest tolerable brightness.
  • Use full-spectrum incandescent lights rather than fluorescents.
  • **Please note that this article states “The chance of contracting vestibular disorders may be worse in modern society, with so many people using computers or watching television.” You won’t “contract” a vestibular disorder from technology, the disorder is an inner ear disease…one has nothing to do with the other.

    NY Times and Balance Disorders

    As I was skimming the NY Times I came across an article on balance disorder awareness:

    JHU and the Increased Risk of Falling in Dizzy Patients

    A three-year long study conducted at Johns Hopkins University revealed that individuals with symptoms of vestibular disorders are 12 times more likely to fall than asymptomatic individuals. This study also revealed that 85% of individuals over the age of 80 had a balance problem and that individuals with diabetes are 70% more likely to suffer from vestibular problems. This study also stresses the importance of vestibular rehabilitation in the treatment process.

    Please follow the link below for the news article:

    Preventing Dizzy Patients from Falling

    The Mayo Clinic Vestibular/Balance Center published a great list of  “Safety Tips to Prevent Falling”*, which will be helpful for patients dealing with dizzy and balance disorders.

    • Remove all throw rugs and make sure all electrical and phone cords are tucked out of the way.
    • In rooms that have wall-to-wall carpeting, make sure that the carpet is secured to the floor and there are no wrinkles or raised areas.
    • Install safety rails for the toilet that are attached with the same bolts that hold the seat in place. Also, installing a raised toilet seat will make getting up from the toilet easier.
    • Install safety grab bars on the bathtub and on the bathtub wall and shower wall. Do not use towel bars or soap dishes. They are not anchored well enough and may pull off the wall.
    • Place a nonskid pad or strips in the bottom of the bathtub.
    • Use a shower chair to sit in the shower or a bath bench to sit in the bathtub, instead of standing in the shower or sitting on the bottom of the tub.
    • Purchase a kit that can be installed in place of a standard showerhead, to convert it to a handheld showerhead.
    • Sit when shaving, brushing teeth, fixing hair, or putting on makeup. Use a tabletop mirror or install an extra long mirror over the sink so it can be used while standing or sitting.
    • Use caution when walking from one surface to another, such as from the carpeted hall to the tile floor in the bathroom.
    • When moving from a lying down to a standing position, sit up first and stay there a minute or two. Rise slowly and stand still for a few seconds before trying to walk.
    • Arrange items in kitchen cupboards so that frequently used items are within easy reach.
    • A countertop toaster oven may be safer than leaning over and trying to reach into a regular oven.
    • Make sure that all stairs are well lit and free of clutter.
    • If it is difficult to see the edge of the stairs, apply brightly colored tape to the edge, or paint the edge a bright color.
    • Always use the railings when going up or down stairs. It is best to have railings on both sides of the stairs. If there is no railing, at least place hands on the wall while going up or down the stairs.
    • Use night lights in your bedroom
    • Place a light near the bedside for getting up during the night.
    • Try to sit on furniture that is firm, high, and has armrests to assist when standing.
    • Consider purchasing a cordless phone so that it is not necessary to get up from your seat to answer the phone.
    • Consider an emergency response system. These are available at minimal cost through many local hospitals and medical centers.