Among seniors, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries. This is because falls often lead to very severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head trauma. At Caring Senior Service, we know that making seniors and their families aware of the facts about falls and the steps that can be taken to help reduce falls can ensure seniors safeguard themselves from having a traumatic fall.
With our Fall Prevention Fact Sheet you will learn the steps that can be taken to help reduce the chances of a fall occurring.
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Understanding the facts on falls and fall prevention can help millions of Americans safeguard themselves from the traumatic impact of fall-related injuries.
- 1 out of 3 adults age 65 and older suffer from serious falls.
- Less than half of older adults talk to their healthcare professionals about falls and fall prevention.
- Every 14 seconds, an older adult is treated in the hospital for a fall-related injury.
- Older adults with vision problems are more likely to suffer falls.
- Women are 2 times more likely to suffer fall-related fractures than men.
- More than 2 million adults age 65 and older are treated in emergency hospitals for fall-related injuries.
- More than 95% of hip fractures in older adults are caused by falls.
- 25,500 adults over the age of 65 die each year of fall-related injuries.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in older adults.
- Most falls will eventually lead to issues with daily activities and can drastically decrease an older adult's quality of life.
10 steps to help prevent falls for seniors
While falls are a serious issue among older adults, there are several steps that can be taken to help prevent falls, or lessen a senior's chances of getting injured from a fall.
Schedule a doctor's visit: Visit a doctor if you have experienced problems with walking, numbness in your legs or feet, swelling in your ankles, dizziness, difficulty breathing, feels unsteady or have fallen in the last year. These are all symptoms that most individuals experience moments before a fall.
Balance improvement activities: Yoga, tai chi, and other stretch-based exercises that help promote balance and muscle coordination have been shown to decrease the likelihood of falls in elderly individuals. These exercises not only help strengthen the body against falls, but are gentle and easy enough for older individuals to practice.
Assistive devices: Consider assistive devices, such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters. All of these aids can increase stability and prevent unexpected falls from occurring.
Regular exercise: Exercise has been shown to increase leg strength, improve balance, and prevent falls in elderly adults.
Medication management: Both prescription and over-the-counter medications may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness, which can increase a person's risk of falling. Older adults need to discuss any medication with their health care providers. Individuals taking 4 or more medications are at an even higher risk of falling.
Proper footwear: 30% of older adults with foot problems and problems walking or moving around will suffer a serious fall. Wearing the right footwear can drastically decrease the chance of this happening.
Vision check-up: Vision is a major concern for older adults. The simple process of getting an individual's vision checked every year can actually drastically prevent falls. Many falls occur because a senior with poor vision was unable to see well enough to avoid an obstacle.
Home improvements: Most falls happen inside the home and could be prevented by simple home improvements such as removing tripping hazards, adding grab bars in the bathroom, improving lighting, and adding sturdy railings along the stairs.
Hire a personal assistant service: A company that specializes in Personal Assistance Services for seniors can provide a quality caregiver that will come into the home and assist with daily activities. Having a helping hand is sometimes all that's needed to prevent a serious fall.
Vitamin D supplementation: According to the American Geriatrics Society, vitamin D supplements are a powerful way to prevent falls and to help elderly individuals keep their balance. Elderly individuals should be taking up to 1000 IU per day.