The Secretary of State for Health held a virtual meeting this week to highlight the World Day for the Prevention of Falls for the Elderly and the World Week for the Prevention of Domestic Accidents. The event was promoted in partnership with the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and also took into account the 26.5% increase in the number of elderly people attended due to falls in households between 2019 and 2020, from 7,319 to 9,238, according to Samu.
In addition to orientation lectures, the Fall Prevention Manual for the Elderly, prepared by the UFPR Research Group on Physiotherapy, with support from the Health Department. The material is aimed at the elderly, their caregivers and family members, with the objective of helping this public in the identification of environmental risks in their homes, suggesting adaptations when necessary.
“This is material for guidance and also a warning for this audience. It is estimated that Paraná currently has about 1.7 million elderly people. A population that requires special care and assistance”, stated the Secretary of State for Health, Beto Preto.
Falls are common but not normal occurrences of aging, and their consequences can be severe. Simple measures, which involve care for the environment, health, and sometimes changes in habits, can prevent them.
“The restriction of mobility required by the pandemic can contribute to the increase in the occurrence of falls, since it implies a reduction in physical activity and the possibility of muscle weakness”, warned the director of Health Care and Surveillance, Maria Goretti David Lopes.
“This is an issue that has concerned the Health Department since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Secretariat supported the Physiotherapy and Physical Education group of the State University of Londrina in the dissemination of the guidance material Physical exercises for you to do at home. Now we are launching the Manual in partnership with UFPR”, explained the head of the Elderly Health Division, Giseli da Rocha.
The Health Department maintains the Health Care Line for the Elderly provided for in the State Health Plan 2020/2023.
Among the main guidelines for preventing falls are to keep rooms well lit and with easily accessible switches; avoid getting out of bed in the dark and never getting up quickly; keep frequently used objects in easily accessible places; avoid rugs and, if necessary, they must be rubberized or non-slip; keep house passages free of wires, toys, clothes and any objects; and wear closed shoes with non-slip soles.
“Among other prevention measures, we highlight the attention to slippery and wet floors. The bathroom is the environment in the house where most falls happen”, highlighted the medical specialist in Geriatrics of the Elderly Health Division, Adriane Miró. According to her, installing support bars, especially next to the toilet and in the box, increases security.
“Besides, keep regular health monitoring. Some medications can increase the risk of falls and should be avoided. Our recommendation is to always ask health professionals if there are any of these medications in use and only use those prescribed by the doctor”, emphasized Adriane.
Text: Paraná News Agency