• With one in four older adults being affected, falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and even head injuries.
• Read the common factors that can lead to a fall below. Reduce the risk of a loved one falling and find ways to keep them healthy and independent for as long as possible.
• Falls can be prevented, especially if you know where to look.
Did you know that one in four older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65-plus. Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. Even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.
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 for as long as possible. The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look.
Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:
• Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance — primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
• Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina — making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
• Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration, or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
• Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
• Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
Source: The National Council on Aging – www.ncoa.org/article/falls-prevention-awareness-week-toolkit