Elderly Falls: Outcome and Prevention
According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of seniors over the age of 65 suffer from falls each year! Falls in seniors can result in injuries like head trauma and hip fractures, and they greatly increase the chances of early death.
As individuals age, maintaining balance is critical for preventing potentially devastating falls. Understanding the factors that lead to falls and taking steps to prevent them can help seniors stay healthy in their golden years.
What causes poor balance and falls?
Poor eyesight, poor hearing and other normal changes of aging can contribute to falls, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Loose throw rugs and lighting that isn’t bright enough also can make it more likely that a senior will slip or trip and fall.
Deteriorating balance also is a culprit in many falls. Medications used for treating sleep problems, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes and heart conditions can affect balance and make falls more likely. The elderly who are taking several medications or who have changed their medications recently are at an increased risk of losing their balance and falling.
Dire Outcomes from Falls
According to the CDC reports, as many as 30 percent of seniors who fall suffer serious injuries like hip fractures, head trauma and lacerations. Such injuries make it much more difficult for seniors to continue living independently. Falls cause the majority of bone fractures in the elderly, with fractures most commonly seen in the legs, ankles, pelvis, forearms, upper arms, hands and spine.
Falls also can cause a catastrophic cycle in which seniors who have fallen — even if they did not suffer serious injury — become afraid of falling and limit their activities. Reducing activities can lead to decreased mobility and a loss of physical ability, which can further increase the risk of falls.
Balance Exercises to Prevent Falls
- Stand on one foot for a short amount of time
- Walk heel to toe
- Balance walk
- Back leg raises
- Side leg raises
Note: Stand near support and it is recommended to have senior living staff help you with your balance exercises!
Here are some more recommended steps for seniors to take to improve and maintain their balance and lessen the chances of a fall that can cause serious injuries:
- Exercise on a regular basis to increase leg strength and improve balance. Some exercises should include;
- Review medications with your doctor to become aware of side effects like dizziness that can increase the likelihood of a fall.
- Have your eyes examined annually
- Remove tripping hazardous items
- Add grab bars in bathtubs, in showers and next to the toilet
- Improve lighting and add railings to stairways
- Protect your health to prevent falls
Falls are the leading cause of accidents in elderly people over 65. But by being proactive, seniors can keep their balance on track and reduce the risk of falls that can negatively impact the quality of their life. The great thing about Forest Hill Retirement is that we promote health and provide a safe environment for all residents, which include many of the things mentioned above. Contact us today for more information!