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Understanding Falls; A Singaporean Perspective

Posted by Deborah Lee on

There are some startling statistics which we came across in the process of gathering local market information, one of which is related to falls amongst the elderly in Singapore. According to a study published in the Singapore Medical Journal (2009), [], which involved 720 elderly patients aged 65 years and older who were presented to the National University Hospital (NUH) emergency department with trauma,

"Falls are the leading mechanism for elderly patients sustaining trauma, forming 85.3% of all injuries. Of all the falls sustained, the majority occurred at home (74.1%). The majority (55.6%) of the falls at home were due to accidental or environmental causes."

The effects of falls far outweigh potential physical limitations which may occur as a result; they are also likely to lead to a Fear of Further Falling (3F) Syndrome, which leads elderly persons AND their family members to restrict their activities. Over time, this decreases the confidence in their walking ability, and each day of bed rest results in a loss of 3-5% muscle [Steady, Stable and Safe: An Overview of Fall Prevention, Singapore: White Cells, 2010].

With simple modifications to one's home, we can seek to prevent future falls. Some simple methods include installing grab bars in the bathroom, non-slip mats, and also ensuring pathways are well-lit. A home which has not been modified to meet the needs of the elderly is like a time bomb waiting to explode. As falls are likely to have long-term effects such as a permanent loss of independence and mobility, do consider carrying out simple modifications to your home today!

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