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Preventing Falls in Seniors

Posted on March 9, 2018 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

              Falls in the Elderly:

• According to the CDC “falls are preventable”. Each year millions of seniors 65 and older suffer from fall. To be exact, one out of three older adults falls each year.

• Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.

• The most common site fractures from falls are of the Spine, Hip, Forearm, Leg, Ankle, Pelvis, Upper arm, and Hand.

• Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident.

• Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%).

• For people aged 65-84 years, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death; for those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death.

• According to The National Institute on Aging, every year 30% of people over the age of 65 will sustain a fall, of which 10% will result in a serious injury.

Cause of falls In the Elderly

• Muscle Weakness: Scientists have Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors.

Your balance and your gait --

• Blood postural Hypotension: When you get up from lying down or sitting, and your blood pressure drops this increases your chance of falling.

• Foot problems: Sensory problems can cause falls, too. If your senses don't work well, you might be less aware of your environment.

• Vision problems: contribute to falls because of poor perception, cataracts, and glaucoma.

• Confusion: even for a short while, can sometimes lead to falls.

• Medications can increase a person's risk of falling because they cause side effects like dizziness or confusion.

The more medications you take the more likely you are to fall. People who take four or more prescription drugs have a greater risk of falling than do people who take fewer drugs.

Factors in the home that may cause falls:

• loose rugs

• clutter on the floor or stairs

• carrying heavy or bulky things up or down stairs

• not having stair railings

• not having grab bars in the bathroom

How do you reduce the risk of falls??

• Stay physically active. Plan an exercise program that is right for you. Regular exercise improves muscles and makes you stronger.

• Have your eyes and hearing tested. Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall.

• Find out about the side effects of any medicine you take. If a drug makes you sleepy or dizzy, tell your doctor.

• Get enough sleep. If you are sleepy, you are more likely to fall.

• Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop. That can make you feel wobbly.

• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.

• Use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk. Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls. A physical or occupational therapist can help you decide which devices might be helpful and teach you how to use them safely.

• Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces. They can be very slippery! Try to have sand or salt spread on icy areas by your front or back door.

• Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or in shoes and slippers with smooth soles.

• Improve lightning especially at night when you go to the bathroom (try lighted toilet seats)

• Install handrails and grab bars in your bathroom

• Move items to make them easier to reach.

• Avoid loose rugs in your home

• If possible keep your phone with you always, including while walking around your home

• Safely put away extension cords or other devices that may cause you to trip and fall

• An emergency response Bracelet or chain may be helpful and necessary if you live alone

Finally: Speak to your doctor about your fall risk.