Fall Prevention: Why Older Adults Fall & What to Do
Most people are aware that falls are dangerous for older adults; one out of every five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or a concussion. Fear of falling can also have a negative impact on an aging adult’s quality of life, preventing them from being active and thriving.
First, understand why older people fall
Most older people will fall for their own unique set of reasons; you can (and should) try to follow the general fall prevention tips, but if you truly want to help an older loved one avoid falling, learn more about why he or she might fall.
Why personalized fall prevention works better than general fall prevention
Doctors frequently miss opportunities to reduce fall risk unless a family is proactive in asking for help, so don’t assume that most doctors will identify and manage the most important risk factors for falls.
Why a fall happens
When we’re young and healthy, we have a lot of ability to stay upright; a big enough knock off-balance can send even a 20-year-old sprawling. Illness or weakness can also reduce anyone’s ability to stay upright.
4 Steps to Reduce Fall Risk
Geriatrician: Identify risk factors and triggers associated with recent or recurrent falls. Determine which factors are easiest to modify or change. Develop practical strategies to address modifiable fall risk factors.
3 types of fall risk factors you should consider
Triggers can be anything from a strong dog pulling on a leash to a low blood sugar moment in someone with diabetes.
Example: Why is Mr. Jones falling?
Wendy should ask her father if he ever has low blood sugar episodes, which could cause a fall. Wendy should also assist her father in reviewing his medications, as medications are one of the most common causes of increased fall risk in older people.
Take the next step: create a personalized fall prevention plan
You can reduce fall risk by encouraging strength and balance exercises and by improving your loved one’s home environment, but you’ll be most effective in preventing falls if you can get your doctors to help you understand your loved one’s personal fall risk factors.
How do you stop an elderly person from falling?
Experts in senior care offer the following tips for avoiding falls at home:
- Remove or repair tripping hazards.
- Install grab bars and handrails.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing.
- Light it properly.
- Wear shoes.
- Make it nonslip.
- Live on one level.
How do I stop my elderly from falling at night?
You can also increase the wattage in their light bulbs, place a touch-sensitive lamp on their nightstand, and make sure all hallways have switches on both ends by strategically placing a nightlight and senior wall mount buttons in each room of your loved one’s house, as well as all hallways.
Why does an elderly person keep falling?
Because they may have: balance problems and muscle weakness. vision loss. a long-term health condition, such as heart disease, dementia, or low blood pressure (hypotension), which can cause dizziness and a brief loss of consciousness, older people are more likely to fall.
Why can’t elderly get up after a fall?
Even falls that don’t result in immediate injury can be disastrous if you don’t know what to do. Of course, it’s not uncommon for seniors to be unable to get up for a variety of reasons, including injury, stiff joints, weak muscles, and a variety of other factors.
When would someone falling become a cause for concern?
Any fall that results in an injury, no matter how minor, is cause for concern and should be treated right away. Injuries may appear minor at first, but gradual or sudden changes in health or behavior are significant indicators that an injury warrants further investigation.
At what age are you considered elderly?
According to the Social Security Administration, 9 out of 10 people over the age of 65 are eligible for Social Security benefits, and 65 is the legal age at which U.S. citizens are considered seniors.
How long do seniors live after a fall?
According to Cheng’s research, 4.5 percent of elderly patients (aged 70 and up) died after a ground-level fall, compared to 1.5 percent of non-elderly patients.
How can we prevent falls in the elderly in a nursing home?
- Individualized or group physical therapy.
- Tai Chi.
- Environmental modifications.
- Home safety awareness.
- Correcting vitamin D deficiency.
- Reducing the number of medications.
- Reducing the use of psychotropic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants, and sedatives.
What to watch for after an elderly person falls?
After a fall, there are eight things doctors should look into.
- A blood pressure and pulse reading while sitting and standing.
- Blood tests.
- Medications review.
- Gait and balance.
- Vitamin D level.
- Evaluation for underlying heart conditions or neurological conditions.
Why do elderly stop eating?
The following are some of the most common reasons: seniors require fewer calories due to a lower metabolic rate and less physical activity; changes in sense of smell and taste can make food less tasty; and we lose taste buds as we age.
What are the most serious consequences of a fall in the elderly?
Fractures are the most serious consequence of falls for seniors (short of death). The hip, femur (thigh bone), pelvis, and vertebrae (spine) are the most common bones to fracture in falls.
What should you look for after a fall?
Getting medical help as soon as possible after a fall can help you avoid long-term injuries, chronic pain, or even death.
- Obvious swelling.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Loss of balance.
- Back pain.
What causes inability to walk in elderly?
Older age, low physical activity, obesity, strength or balance impairment, and chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis are the most common risk factors for mobility impairment.