Why is fall prevention important for older adults?
Preventing falls among the elderly is crucial due to dizziness, balance problems, and weakened muscle strength, which are among the most common causes of falls in this age group. The VELA chair is a specially designed chair that aims to prevent falls among the elderly.
The Risk of Falling Increases Significantly with Age
In fact, a study conducted in the Municipality of Copenhagen revealed that one-third of residents aged 65 and above experience at least one fall per year. Globally, this applies to more than one in four individuals2. The same Copenhagen study emphasises that once you have experienced a fall, the risk of falling again increases even further.
Not only does the risk of falling increase with age, but the consequences of a fall can also be much more severe compared to when you were younger.
Tragically, falls are the second-leading cause of death worldwide, following traffic accidents. Each year, an estimated 684,000 people die due to falls globally, with a significant number occurring among older adults over the age of 60.
Consequences of falls:
When an elderly person falls, it can result in fractured bones, such as hip or thigh fractures. Unfortunately, this often leads to severe consequences:
- Lengthy hospital stays
- Prolonged rehabilitation processes
- Surgical procedures and potential reoperation
- Requirement for aids during hospitalisation and at home
- Need for care, such as home care, in everyday life
Unfortunately, it is also often the case that the consequences of a fall can lead to poorer mobility and result in another fall. Moreover, the fear of falling again can lead to the avoidance of specific situations and activities in an attempt to prevent future falls.
This significantly diminishes the quality of life for the elderly. Among other things, effective fall prevention aims to counteract these negative impacts.
Kaj Henning Was Always Afraid of Falling
Kaj Henning, an elderly gentleman, has experienced reduced muscle strength in his legs due to his age. This has made him feel insecure about losing balance and falling, and his fears are justified.
Kaj Henning has faced falls in his home before and is concerned that another fall could result in a fracture. He has also realised from past experiences that he cannot get up on his own if he falls again.
Due to his insecurity and fear, Kaj Henning has refrained from performing many practical tasks at home, relying on his wife, Lene, to handle most of the household chores. However, the extra workload on Lene does not compare to the worry she carries for her husband. Whenever she hears an unexpected sound, she often thinks:
What’s happening now? Has he fallen?
However, the situation at Lene and Kaj Henning’s home changed when Kaj Henning was provided with a VELA Chair. The chair enables him to be more active in his daily life. He can now help more around the house, and the chair provides excellent reassurance to both Kaj Henning and Lene, as Kaj Henning is not at as high a risk of falling. He feels secure when he sets the table, loads the dishwasher, or picks things up from the floor.
As a result, Kaj Henning has become less dependent on help from Lene.
The burden of worry that Lene had unconsciously carried for Kaj Henning has now been lifted.
Lene expresses her relief, saying:
Now, there’s less for me to be anxious about.
Kaj Henning particularly appreciates the electric height adjustment on the chair because, as he explains, “There’s a difference between sitting and walking.” Therefore, depending on his activity, he makes many small adjustments to his sitting height throughout the day to ensure comfort.
Lene notices a significant change in Kaj Henning’s activity level and his sense of independence. She remarks that he has become much more active and hopes this positive effect extends to his edematous legs.
The VELA chair has helped Kaj Henning be more active and independent at home, ultimately improving his quality of life, not just for himself but also for his wife, Lene.
Whether it’s called quality of life, I don’t know, but it feels like it… Actually.
Fear of Falling Is a Prevalent Problem
The Impact of Fear on Social Life
Fear can have a profound impact on social and active individuals and their loved ones, as is the case with Kaj Henning and Lene. Therefore, it is important not only to focus on physical capabilities but also to incorporate the psychological perspective into the rehabilitation process and preventive mindset.
Kaj Henning and Lene’s story is not unique, and our experience shows that there are many elderly individuals in a similar situation to theirs. This is why fall prevention should be approached from a physical, contextual, and psychological standpoint.
How a VELA Chair Assists in Preventing Falls and the Apprehension of Falling
You can adjust the chair’s height yourself
A chair that has both a brake and an electric lift is essential to preventing falls among the elderly. The VELA chair with an electric lift provides the user with an aid that assists them in standing up.
To use the chair safely, follow these steps:
- Apply the brake by using the hand brake
- Press the button to raise the seat. This will elevate the chair and help you stand up
- Gently place your feet on the floor, and regain your balance while being supported by the chair
The VELA chair offers additional benefits as well. It allows you to perform various daily tasks while remaining seated. For example, you can lower the chair to reach lower shelves in a cupboard or raise it to access clothes in a wardrobe. However, always ensure that the chair is properly braked before carrying out any activities to ensure your safety and security.
One notable feature of the chair is its electric lift, which provides a smooth and gradual change in seat height. This helps prevent dizziness or loss of balance that can occur with sudden movements. By instilling a sense of security, the electric lift contributes to a safer user experience.
Walk the chair around and stay mobile
Our mobility chairs for the elderly are equipped with four smooth-running wheels. This means you can lower the chair’s height and use your legs to “walk” or push the chair around while seated.
With a VELA fall prevention chair, you can comfortably engage in most of your daily activities while seated, reducing the fear of falling. The smooth-running wheels provide enhanced mobility, enabling you to take care of yourself and move around with ease.
If you need to transition from the chair to a sofa, simply walk the chair to the sofa, apply the brake, fold the armrest down, and slide onto the sofa. You can also rely on the armrest for support during the transfer.
A fall prevention chair offers safety and security, empowering you to handle various tasks independently without relying on others for assistance.
Security, stability, and a better quality of life
There are many benefits to preventing falls among the elderly. Using a VELA chair helps reduce accidents, hospitalisations, and after-effects. Therefore, we recommend getting a VELA chair before an accident happens. You can use it when you are feeling tired to prevent yourself from falling.
A fall prevention chair for the elderly offers security when your strength fails while also providing a stable foundation to continue your usual activities, helping you maintain a good quality of life even if you have a fear of falling.
The VELA Chair Has Transformed Kaj Henning’s Daily Life
After receiving a VELA chair, he has gained the confidence to perform a wider range of tasks at home.
It not only relieves his wife but also provides beneficial exercise for Kaj Henning. The VELA chair assists him in areas where he is weakest, eliminating his fear of the consequences of his physical limitations. For instance, it compensates for Kaj Henning’s reduced leg muscle strength and lack of balance. Consequently, he can now work at the kitchen table and cabinets at a higher level, as well as perform tasks closer to the floor, such as emptying and loading the dishwasher.
His fear of falling, which he used to associate with this strength- and balance-demanding activities, has been eliminated thanks to the VELA chair.
The VELA chair actively contributes to enhancing Kaj Henning’s level of activity by reducing his feelings of insecurity. Increased activity can help strengthen Kaj Henning’s leg muscles and alleviate swelling. For Kaj Henning, the VELA chair has made it possible to perform activities that were previously impossible for him, boosting his confidence and independence. These two factors have had a significant impact on his overall quality of life.