Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors, and they don’t just happen out of nowhere. In many cases, there are underlying causes involved, including:
- Balance problems
- Certain weather conditions, such as ice, snow or rain
- Heart or lung disease
- High blood pressure
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness or pain in hands and feet
- Side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications
Know the Signs of a Recent Fall
Despite the high incidence of falls in older adults, many times they go unreported and unrecognized by the caregiver unless a hospital or emergency room visit is necessary. Failure to report even a minor fall can be a serious problem because the fall may indicate a potentially dangerous problem.
If you are a caregiver, be aware of any signs of injury that may be related to falling. These can include:
- A change in walking speed, stability or step
- Any new bruising, bumps or cuts
- Complaints of pain, dizziness or loss of balance
- Protecting certain parts of the body unnecessarily
- Swelling or redness of a joint
Fall Prevention Strategies
The best way to start your fall prevention plan is by making an appointment with your loved one’s physician. The physician will want to evaluate your concerns, as well as you or your loved one’s medical condition and lifestyle. This includes:
A physician can review medications for side effects and interactions that may increase you or your loved one’s risk of falling.
Be prepared to provide details about a fall, including when, where and how the fall occurred. Also, discuss instances when you or your loved one almost fell but managed to grab hold of someone or something just in time.
Any Other Health Concerns
A physician can determine if certain health conditions may be affecting mobility, muscle strength, gait or balance.
Fall Facts and Myths
Below are some common myths that many older people believe to be true. Have an honest conversation with your physician or loved one to debunk some of these untruths about how falls occur and can affect a person’s lifestyle:
Myth: Falls only happen to other people.
Fact: In the United States, one in three older adults—or about 12 million—fall every year.
Myth: Falling is a part of aging.
Fact: Falling is not normal, and precautions can be taken to help prevent a fall from happening.
Myth: If I limit my movement, I’ll reduce my risk of falling.
Fact: Balance, strength and range of motion can be considerably improved by staying active.
Myth: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
Fact: A properly fitted walking aid may improve stability, mobility and confidence.
Myth: Staying home will reduce my chances of falling.
Fact: Falls occur more at home than in any other setting.
For more caregiver resources or information, contact us today.