Did you know that more than one in four age 65 and older fall each year? Did you know that once you experience a fall you are more likely to fall again in the future? Falling is a major concern for your loved ones and despite common belief, falling is not a normal part of the aging process. Before we dive into the most common reasons for falls and how to prevent them, let’s take a look at some more statistics from CDC.gov to get a proper view on exactly how serious falls can be.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
The bad news is falls can alter overall quality of life and even loss of life for the elderly; the good news is they are preventable! It is best to take preventative measures before your loved one falls to reduce risks or additional falls in the future. If your loved one has already experienced a fall, whether injury occurred or not, it’s not too late. A fall does not mean that your loved one is not capable of living on their own or even that they need more assistance from a day to day basis. Fall prevention techniques will not only give you peace of mind, it will also give your loved one confidence to continue their daily life without fear of falling.
Common Causes for Falling & Fall Prevention
Falls are more common when multiple risk factors are involved. The most common causes for falls in the elderly include:
-Lower body weakness
-Lack of Vitamin D
-Hazards within the home.
The best way to prevent falls is to start within the home. Simple things such as adding handles to toilets and/or showers for help getting in and out, utilizing non slip floor and shower mats, removing hazards such as cords, out of place furniture or old boxes that stick out, rearranging any items that involve reaching up high to get to, and even increasing the amount of lighting within the home can drastically reduce the risk of falling. Some other important factors to consider include but are not limited to:
-Medication. If your loved one is introduced to any new medication and experiences any degree of vision blurriness, dizziness, or drowsiness consult with their doctor as soon as possible. Taking a combination of medications creates more risk of medication reactions and falling.
-Exercise/physical activities. One of the downsides of the aging process includes decreased bone ass, loss of coordination and balance, and reduced flexibility. As we age, we typically reduce physical activity levels which can quicken the aging process. It is important to keep active to keep those muscles working and strong. Simple things like a daily walk can make a big difference.
-Proper Shoes. Secure, non-skid footwear, even within the home is essential in performing even basic daily tasks such as laundry. Failure to wear supportive shoes will put your loved one at risk for falling.
-Proper Nutrition. You have probably heard the phrase “You are what you eat” at some point in your lifetime. That holds especially true as we age. It is important that you are receiving the proper nutrients and vitamins through what you eat to keep both your mind and your body strong.
If your loved one has experienced a fall and is in need of short term rehabilitation services, do not hesitate to contact Camelot Senior Living. Transitional Care Services are a bridge between hospital and home with the goal of helping your loved one regain strength and balance and return home as quickly and as safely as possible.