Practical lifestyle adjustments, careful supervision, and an all-inclusive fall prevention approach to older adults may lower fall risks for older adults. Medication is one of the most common causes of increased risk for falls, and it is also one of the easiest factors to modify, according to statistics about falls among older adults by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Infections, diseases, and other health issues can cause older adults to feel weak or off-balance, which leads to falls in older adults. As you age, physical changes and health conditions--and sometimes medications used to manage these conditions--make falls more likely.
Older adults do tend to fall more often than other adults, but this does not mean falls should be expected as a part of getting older. Falling is not a normal part of getting older, and it can be prevented by doing the right exercises, making sure your home is safe, getting regular medical checks, and more. In fact, people of all ages can be affected by falls, older adults just happen to fall more frequently, and the consequences for these falls are worse. In the U.S., women older than 70 are more likely to suffer falls, and suffer twice as many injuries, as men the same age.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common form of injury, whether deadly or non-fatal, among adults 65 years and older. Older adults are at highest risk for death or severe injury resulting from falling, and this risk increases as they get older. In addition to severe injuries and deaths, falls affect older adults quality of life, sometimes making it more difficult for them to live independently. In New York City, falls are one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths and hospitalizations among older adults.
While falls are a significant problem among older adults, there are some steps seniors can take to prevent falls or lower their risk for falling-related injuries. Because such a high proportion of falls happen at home every year, reducing fall hazards can make a big difference in injury prevention for older adults. If you are older, or if you have a loved one who is older, this guide can help you lower your risk for falls, so that you can avoid injuries. Encourage your loved one to follow these steps for elderly fall prevention, as well as minimizing injuries in case they do fall.
Your healthcare provider can recommend physical therapy, walking assistance, or other steps that will help prevent future falls. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that could increase your risk for falls. Some medications can increase a person’s risk of falling by causing side effects such as dizziness or confusion. Some medications, both prescription and nonprescription, may make people sleepy, thereby increasing their chances of falling every year as adults.
Opioids, blood pressure medications, medications that lower blood sugar, and tranquilizers may all increase the risk of falls in older adults. Increased alcohol intake may significantly increase risk of falls, because it affects the persons balance, coordination, reflexes, and decision-making. Healthcare providers can help lower a persons risk by reducing the fall risk factors listed above. Talk with Your Health Care Provider Ask your health care provider or physician to assess your fall risk and talk to them about specific things you can do.
Always tell your doctor if you have fallen since your last checkup, even if you were not injured when you fell. If you are avoiding exercise because you are worried that will make falling more likely, tell your health care provider. A fall may tip off your doctor about a new medical issue, or problems with medications or vision, which may be corrected.
Although all individuals who fall are at risk of injuries, an individuals age, sex, and medical condition may influence the type and severity of injuries. Foot problems causing pain and unsafe shoes, such as shoes with no backs or heels, also increase the risk of falling. You can lower the risk of falling by eliminating tripping hazards, improving lighting, installing handrails and grab bars, and taking extra caution around pets who might step on foot.
Preventing falls is not just up to you -- your health care provider can offer recommendations for the best courses of action. To help prevent falls, your doctor might consider weaning you off medications that make you tired or impact your thinking, like sedatives and certain types of antidepressants. As you get older, it is important to regularly visit your doctor and ask whether any current or past health conditions make you more likely to fall, so that he or she can work with you to create a plan for falling prevention.
In the even of falls, the sooner caregivers and family members are notified, the sooner help can come. KAREWatch MG Medical Alert System Smartwatch has advanced sensors to detect falls and activate SOS Call system to emergency medical hotline numbers and registered phone numbers of caregivers.
Get your KAREWatch™ MG Medical Alert Smartwatch today at KAREWatch.com, or call us at 855 932 KARE to start safeguarding your loved ones.
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