Common Fall Causes And Injuries in Seniors And How To Manage Them
When we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes physically. WebMD notes that as we get older, our bones become less dense and more brittle, thus creating a higher risk for bone fractures if one falls. The Mayo Clinic also mentions that as we age, our muscles tend to lose strength, flexibility and endurance.
We have put together a few practices to help avoid falling and hurting yourself.
What Can Cause Seniors To Fall
AgingCare has listed the top seven reasons that contribute to seniors falling.
- Decrease in Exercise: Older adults tend to be less active, thus leaving the body to weaken through loss of muscle strength, balance and coordination, as well as, decreasement in bone mass.
- Faulty Eyesight: Eye diseases that develop as we get older can lead to falls by not being able to see hazards such as, steps and puddles, leading to falling on hard surfaces like concrete or tile.
- Medications: Although medications are taken to help with specific illnesses or functionalities, they often come with side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness and low-pressure– all of which could lead to a fall.
- Chronic Diseases: If you have Parkinson’s disease, Alzehimer’s disease or arthritis, these can weaken your hands and feet, loss in grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive damage. By having one or more of these diseases, it causes a higher risk of you getting injured due to delay of response and healing from tripping or falling.
- Surgeries: As we get older, we may have to get surgeries to help our body function properly. Oftentimes hip replacement surgeries are needed, leaving one in pain and unable to walk.
- Environmental Risks: If you or your loved one is living in a home with poor lighting, loose carpets/rugs, and clutter, there is a high risk of slipping or falling, resulting in injuries.
- Behavioral Risks: We all live our lives differently, which means we all have different levels of activities we can and can not do. For some, carrying a heavy laundry basket can be a high-risk causing a fall. It is best to know your limits and know when to ask for help with activities.
How To Prevent Falls
With causes of falls, comes ways to prevent them. Everyday Health gives various ways to help avoid falling.
(1) Keep Your Home Clean and Organized: The best way to avoid falling in your house is to make sure there is no clutter on the floor. Try to organize and put away anything that could be a potential hazard.
(2) Fix Any Tripping Hazards: One of the main ways one can trip in the home is if rugs, carpets or mats are loose. If you slip and fall one any of these and fall on furniture or tile/wood, it can result in serious injuries. Fix or remove any loose rugs, carpets or mats.
(3) Add Lighting: Place extra nightlights in bedrooms or hallways of your house. If you get up in the middle of the night, these can help guide you and prevent you from tripping over something in the dark.
(4) Put in Handrails and Grab Bars: If you have stairs in your home, it is recommended to install handrails to assist you while going up the stairs. Oftentimes, one may slip and fall in the shower, getting in or out of the shower, or simply going to the restroom. Installing grab bars in high-risk areas such as bathrooms and by your bedside, can help to assist you in getting up and avoid hurting yourself.
(5) Wear Shoes in the House: Although you may feel comfortable wearing socks in the house, this is oftentimes not the best way to ensure your safety. Socks can become slippery, especially on tile or wood floors. Purchase some comfortable house shoes or non-slip socks for you to wear while you are up and about at home.
(6) Get Non-slip Mats: When areas in your home get wet, it can cause a slipping hazard. Place non-slip mats in your house in areas that can be prone to getting wet, such as the shower, bathroom, kitchen and even backyard patio.
(7) Move at a Pace that is Comfortable For You: Avoid getting up out of bed or off the couch/chair in a fast manner, this can cause you to fall or slip.
Getting older can be scary, especially with the risk of a simple fall seriously injuring you. Along with taking the extra precautions in your house to ensure your safety, also try to keep active and touch base with your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects with medicines or think you may be having cognitive impairment issues.
Written by: Melissa Andrews
About the Author…
Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.