6 Risks You Should Know To Prevent Elderly Falls

Image by mrpuen, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image by mrpuen, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

For seniors, falls are not only more serious and dangerous but they also happen more frequently than in younger people. There are a number of factors that contribute to a tendency to fall, some of which can be corrected and avoided.

1. Impaired Vision: As we age, our vision gets worse, often times due to a number of age-related eye diseases. Seniors should get regular eye exams (as least yearly) to ensure that any potential vision-threatening condition is caught early and to ensure proper vision correction is prescribed. For those who have a prescription for glasses, make sure they are worn when needed.

2. Home hazards: Home hazards such as loose carpeting and electrical cords, insufficient lighting or lack of necessary safety equipment such as handrails, grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom account for one third of all falls in the elderly population. Simple steps to eliminate such hazards and provide helpful equipment will help make the home safer.

3. Medications: Some medications or combinations of medications have been linked to an increased risk of falling. For those who take sedatives, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications or a mixture of medications with side effects, speak to your doctor about the increased risk and how to prevent falls.

4. Inactivity:  Lack of regular exercise can result in poor muscle tone, a decrease in bone mass, reduced flexibility and a lack of balance, all of which can lead to increased likelihood of falls.

5. Poor Health and Disease:  Injuries, physical ailments and neurological conditions that affect balance, strength and movement or cause cognitive impairment (such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease), can lead to instability and falls.  Extra precautions should be taken to protect such individuals from falls.

6. Post surgery: Surgery can take a toll on anyone, but especially the elderly, making them weak, uncomfortable (oftentimes in outright pain) and limited in mobility.  In particular individuals that have had hip replacements are at higher risk of falls.

Being aware of the particular risks involved for your loved one and taking the proper steps to make the home safer is the best any caregiver can do to reduce the risk of falls and injury for their loved ones. If you have questions about fall prevention contact us for more information.