The Dangers Of Falls For Older Adults And How To Avoid Them

May 1st, 2019 Becki Andrus
Orthopedic Problems Women

Avoiding Falls As A Older Adult

Anyone is capable of falling regardless of their age, and there a number of reasons why this can happen. But if you or one of your parents have reached the point in life where turning age 65 has either occurred or is imminent, then the statistics concerning how many falls actually transpire with aging adults might be uncomfortable to read.

However, learning the frequency in which these unfortunate situations are occurring can also become an important step toward realizing how important it is to remain careful and focused when you are walking.

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), an older adult falls each second of every day in the United States. Considering that over 10,000 Americans experience their 65th birthday every day, it does not require much imagination to comprehend how significant of a problem the falls of older adults have become.

The CDC also states that one in every four Americans who have reached age 65 falls each year. In fact, an older adult is treated in an emergency situation every 11 seconds due to a fall, which also results in 2.8 million injuries each year that are dealt with in emergency rooms. Falls are also the primary cause of fatal injuries among older adults, as there is a new death every 19 minutes.  

Since bones become more brittle as we age, the ramifications of a fall can be significant. There is the potential for a life-threatening situation, while life can change drastically due to a serious injury, such as a fracture of the spine, hip or wrist. Long-term health issues that can ensue will also create a substantial cost for ongoing care.

The entire scenario can also dramatically alter the life of an older adult who can no longer live independently in the aftermath of the event.
All of which underscores why it is critical to take actions that will reduce the chances of experiencing a fall.

Reasons For Falls

Falls can result from a number of causes. This list includes vision problems, which reduce the ability to see obstacles while walking. Dementia can also place someone at a greater of a fall due to a decline in mental ability.

Medications can negatively impact awareness and judgment, as can the consumption of alcohol. Also, existing health conditions such as osteoporosis can increase the chances for a fall.

There can also be functional issues inside the home that can become risk factors when walking. These include loose carpets and wet or freshly waxed floors that could lead to a slip. There is also the possibility of tripping over a pet or their leash. Also, any objects that become clutter on the floor can provide yet another problem

Stairs can clearly pose a challenge, particularly if they do not contain handrails. This is also the case with bathrooms that do not contain grab bars near the toilets or inside the showers.

Reducing The Risk Of Falling

There are a number of precautions that can be made in order to decrease the risk of a fall. These include making sure that eye exams are conducted by an eye doctor on an annual basis. This will enable anyone who is in need of an upgrade in their glasses to have that process completed.

It will also be beneficial for you or your family member to discuss your medications with a doctor so that you can be assured that there is no medicine being consumed that will increase the chances of a fall occurring.

It is very important to sustain an active lifestyle if you can, as retaining mobility will also decrease the likelihood of a fall.

There are also preventative measures that can take place inside the home, in order to improve the level of safety and eliminate the potential hazards that could create a fall.  The possible threats that were listed in the previous section should be eliminated if they exist in your home or the house where your parents are living.

What To Do If You Fall

An unexpected fall can take place quickly and can be distressing when it does. However, it will be very useful if you can keep yourself calm if you suddenly find yourself experiencing this scenario. Maintaining your composure and assessing whether or not you have suffered an injury before attempting a return to your feet is a safer response than trying to rise prematurely. Because that could intensify any injury that may have occurred when you fell.

If you believe that you can rise safely, you should still carefully position yourself on one side of your body, then slowly work your way to a chair – preferably by crawling. When you arrive at a chair, it is important to keep one knee bent and on the floor rather than attempting to stand. Then you can gradually work your way into the chair from a kneeling position.

If you are unable to stand or have been injured during your fall, you should call 911 or ask someone nearby for assistance. If you are without a phone and nobody is around you, then you should remain as comfortable as possible until assistance becomes available.

At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help

IF you have any questions or concerns about the topic of falls for older adults, or if there is an injury related to a fall, the professionals at Orthopedic Associates are ready to provide you with the expertise that can only result from their 183 combined years of experience.

We are also available if you encounter discomfort from an illness or injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in physical activity. We are here to make sure that you can experience the best possible outcome in your situation and have the opportunity to participate in a lifestyle that will bring you enjoyment.

We encourage you to visit one of our Orthopedic Associates two locations or contact us today.

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