Falls and the Elderly

Did you know that one in four elderly Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. The NCOA.org reports that every 11 seconds an elderly man or woman is brought to the ER after falling and every 19 seconds a senior dies from injuries sustained during a fall. These are staggering numbers and there are some basic ways that can help prevent this from happening.

Not only are seniors more prone to falling, but they are also more susceptible to fall-related injuries such as a broken hip or head trauma. It is helpful to understand why older individuals are at an increased risk. You can help families and caregivers to take the proper precautions to keep their loved ones safe on their feet.

If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible.

Preventing falls can save lives and improve the quality of life. The good news is that while falls are dangerous taking some of the steps presented here offers ways to prevent them. It is important to focus on maintaining balance and health.

Here are some tips for preventing falls:

  1. Make an appointment with a doctor. Discuss what medications are being taken that may cause dizziness or lack of coordination. If you or someone you love has a history of falls it’s important to know what health conditions they may have that could cause them to become unsteady or impair their balance.
  2. Keep moving! Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With a doctor’s OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts, tai chi, or yoga. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
  3. Wear sensible shoes. It is important to wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. High heels, flip flops for slick soled shoes are not recommended and can be a hazard.
  4. Remove home hazards by removing boxes, newspapers, and electric/phone cords from any walkways. Secure loose rugs and make sure floorboards are secure. A non-slip mat or a bath seat in the shower is extremely important.
  5. Light up a living space by keeping a home bright helps to avoid tripping on things that are hard to see. It is helpful to have night lights or a lamp/flashlight within reach of a bed for the middle of the night needs.

In the event that you or an elderly friend or relative suffers from a fall, hiring caregivers could help make the recovery easier. A caregiver can help with housework, meals, and transfers. Even if you only hire a caregiver to check in on your parent once a week or every day, socialization and assistance improve a senior citizen’s life. Learn more by calling Platinum Select Nursing to discuss caregivers today.