According to statistics, one out of every four older Americans suffers from a fall annually. This is the leading cause of injuries—nonfatal and fatal alike—for people who are above the age of 65. Many dire consequences can occur as a direct result of a fall, including broken bones, head injuries, and hip fractures. While a major physical injury will not happen every time, there are emotional or mental issues that can pop up. An older person may end up depressed or anxious after a fall, which may lead them to be less active.
It’s best to help any aging people in your life avoid falls, whether that’s family—a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or similar—or friends, like a neighbor. That way, they will be able to remain independent and stay in the prime of health for as long as possible.
What are the most typical problem areas that can trigger a fall?
- Chronic conditions – A whopping 80% of older adults have a chronic condition, such as arthritis, diabetes, or even a history of a single stroke. They result in depression, function loss, inactivity, pain, or having to take several medications. The symptoms and general weakness of the body can result in injuries such as falls.
- Environment – For the most part, older people who are not in hospice in Colorado live in homes that they’ve already been in for years on end. At that point, they usually tend to overlook being able to make little modifications to their home which can help them stay safe.
- Gait and balance – Aging causes loss of balance, coordination, and flexibility. This can be exacerbated mainly through inactivity.
- Medicines – Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines can have side effects which can cause a fall. This includes, but is not limited to, dehydration and dizziness.
- Vision – As you get older, less and less light enters the retina. This makes it harder to see obstacles, tripping hazards, and contrasting edges.
In what ways can older people falling be prevented?
Communicate with them and work with them to take little steps towards better safety.
You need to be able to sit down with your older loved one and have a talk. Find out if they have any worries about falling. Most older people know about the risk of falling but don’t necessarily take it seriously—even those who’ve fallen before. Suggest they take up any concerns or fears with their health care provider.
Have a talk about their medicine.
If there are side effects manifesting or they’re struggling to keep track of medication in general, encourage your older loved one to consult their pharmacist and doctor. Pay special attention to non-prescription medicine with sleep aids, like painkillers whose names include “PM”.
Inquire about when they last had their eyes checked.
This is particularly important if your older loved one needs to wear eyeglasses. Make sure their prescription is updated and that they wear them as prescribed. Take note that bifocals can cause issues with navigating stairs.
The statistics are overwhelming in terms of older Americans being a fall risk. This is why more and more people find peace of mind in turning to home health. There are many things that can be done to help them prevent falls while living in their own home.
In need of senior health services in Colorado? Contact Gateway Home Health today! We are committed to providing the highest quality home-based patient care in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity.