A difficulty that older adults face on a daily basis is the increasing possibility of falling. The older a person gets, the more dangerous falling can become. Every year, 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms due to a fall, and 1 out of 5 falls result in serious injuries. These typically include both head injuries and broken bones. Even those who are not severely hurt from their fall may become afraid of falling again. While it is good to be cautious, this fear can lead to less activity in efforts to keep the incident from reoccurring. However, a less active person becomes weaker, therefore increasing the risk of falling.
While everyone is at risk of falling, there are certain conditions that can increase the risk. These risk factors include:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency (simply not enough vitamin D in your system)
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants.
- Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Home hazards or dangers such as
- Broken or uneven steps, and
- Throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over.
Fall-Proofing your Home
6 out of every 10 falls happen in the victim’s own home. There are certain precautions that you can enforce within your house to increase your safety and prevent serious injuries.
- Having tightly secured handrails on each side of the staircase (and using them!)
- If you’re carrying something, keep at least one hand on the rails at all times and don’t let what you’re carrying block your vision.
- Make sure there is good lighting available throughout the house. This is particularly important at the stairs and in the hallways.
- Do not keep the floor cluttered.
- Make sure that the carpet is securely in place, and don’t use any rugs where the ends could curl up.
- Keep electric cords and telephone wires near walls and away from walking paths.
- Make sure that the furniture is set at a height where it is easy to sit down and stand up from.
You might want to consider looking into getting an emergency services system if you are concerned about getting help in case you fall. These include special necklaces or bracelets that have a button you can push to alert emergency services.
Information was received from: