Falling isn’t really a major problem when you are younger, but it poses a serious health risk for older adults. Many people do not realize that falling is one of the leading causes of injury and injury-related death in older adults. And it happens quite frequently as well; one in three older adults will fall each year.
Here are some facts about falling from the Center for Disease Control:
- One in five falls causes a serious injury such as head injury or broken bones.
- Each year, 2.5 million older adults receive treatment in emergency departments for fall-related injuries.
- Every year 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures, 95% of which are caused by falls.
Because falls are a significant health risk, seniors and their families should learn as much as they can about fall prevention.
Check for Certain Medications
Older adults who are taking certain medications face an increased risk of falling. Such medications include sedatives and tranquilizers (lorazepam, zolpidem), antipsychotics (olanzapine, risperidone), OTC sleep or night-time drugs (Nyquil, PM versions of painkillers). If the senior in your life is currently taking any of these medications, it would be beneficial to talk it over with their doctor.
Reverse Muscle and Bone Loss
Another factor that can contribute to falls is the loss of bone mass. Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones thin and more likely to break or fracture. While it’s more common in women, the condition can affect men as well. Your doctor can perform a bone mineral density test to evaluate the strength of your bones and prescribe medication if needed.
As people age, they tend to lose muscle strength. This also contributes to the risk of falling that older adults face. Seniors and their families can combat this by consulting with a doctor to develop an exercise plan that can improve muscle strength as well as balance and flexibility.
Fall Prevention in the Home
Because older adults face certain mobility limitations, changes have to be around the home and in the way that they do things. Add grab bars and rails in bathrooms, stairs, and other places where falls are likely to occur. Remove furniture or other items that can become tripping hazards. Oftentimes, older adults can also benefit from the use of canes or other walking aids to provide extra support when moving around the home.
If you worry about the older adult in your life falling, Comforts of Home can assist with fall prevention. Our caregivers can provide in-home senior care when you are unable to look after them yourself. We can also help older adults who suffer from lack of mobility and even help them follow through with exercise programs that have been developed by their doctor.