Falls & Accidents

The older we get, the more accident-prone we become. Reflexes, eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell are not what they were, balance may be precarious (see conditions which cause Dizziness), joints are less supple, bones more brittle, and so on. Falls are more likely if there is cognitive impairment, swaying on standing, abnormal gait and overreaction if pushed. Women's bones fracture more easily than men's due to thinning of the bones after menopause (see FracturesOsteoporosis). Skin and blood vessels are also more fragile, leading to easy Bruising and laceration.

If a fracture is suspected, contact Emergency Medical Services and give First Aid. If person becomes confused or drowsy, or complains of numbness or nausea, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours, even if there are no cuts, bruises, or broken bones; accident may have caused a subdural haemorrhage

If person is unable to move or call for help after an accident, secondary consequences may be more serious than those of the accident itself; these include Hypothermia (if person is cold), Pneumonia (if accident occurs out of doors), Shock (excessive bleeding), and Burns (if person has fallen against a radiator, for example).

Circulation problems caused by Atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis may mean that injured tissues are slow to heal. Immobility after injury can also weaken bones and muscles, and hasten degenerative changes in joints. In addition, person may lose confidence in ability to get around or succumb to Depression.

See conditions mentioned above for appropriate homeopathic remedies. However, immediately after a fall give Arnica 30c every 15 minutes for up to 6 doses.

Self-help: If you have had a bad fall, see your medical doctor as quickly as possible; there are no medals for soldiering on unaided.

The best way to forestall accidents is to keep as physically and mentally active as possible, and pay close attention to nutrition. Your diet should include plenty of Vitamin C and zinc, for example. If you suffer from bouts of weakness or unsteadiness, see your medical doctor; you may have a disorder which is easily cured.

If you live alone, try to get a relative or neighbour to visit you, or at least telephone you, at a set time every day; if you don't answer the door or the 'phone, they will know that something is wrong. Special alarm schemes are available in some areas, but these tend to be expensive; contact your local Social Security office or social services department if you have difficulty finding the money. You may also be eligible for once-only help with the cost of rewiring, installing safe heating, extra lights, guard rails, etc.

To minimize risk of accidents make sure all rugs and floor coverings are secure, keep steps and stairs well lit, and never overload electricity points or place lamps or appliances in places where you are likely to trip over the flex. Wear shoes that fit properly, with laces that are not likely to trip you up, and make sure your slippers have non-slip soles; use a non-slip mat in the bath. If you have to get up during the night, don't blunder around in the dark; have a light beside your bed.

If you are unsteady on your feet, use a stick, and make sure steps and stairs have a solid handrail or banisters. Keep everything you need in low cupboards or on shelves which you can reach easily - no climbing up on chairs or stools and overbalancing. If you wear glasses, don't go walking in your reading glasses.

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Ailment & Diseases

  Burns & Scalds
  Dizziness in Elderly
  Fractures - First Aid
  Hypothermia in Elderly
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  Vitamin C

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