Winter is upon us and now is the perfect time to for caregivers of seniors, as well as friends and family, to become familiar with the risks of senior falling. Falling can have serious consequences for seniors so it’s vital to learn more about the risks and the potential impacts on their health.
Preventing Senior Falling
Did you know that the number one cause of injuries among seniors is falling? It accounts for more than 2 million visits to the emergency room each year! With a third of senior citizens falling annually, we need to educate ourselves about senior falling and how to prevent them. As we grow older, our bones become more brittle, leading to more serious injuries. These injuries can have a huge impact on quality of life.
Here are some stats from the Center for Disease Control:
• Senior falling is the among the top causes for Traumatic Brain Injury. (TBI) This can lead to even more falls, often resulting in death.
• Falls are the number one cause of broken bones in older Americans. Severe injuries such as breaking a hip, can lead to devastating consequences.
• When a senior has suffered a bad fall, they often become fearful of falling again, which leads to decreased mobility. Lack of physical fitness only serves to increase the risk of falling.
• More men than women die from senior falling each year.
• Senior women suffer more bone fractures than men.
• Tens of billions of dollars are spent each year on direct medical bills.
Although these facts seem dismal, there is no reason to think senior falling is just part of the aging process. There are simple things caregivers and families can do to prevent falls, and even the seniors themselves can help prevent falling by staying fit and improving balance.
Tips for Preventing Senior Falls
The most important thing in preventing falls is understanding the risks. Things like not being physically fit or active, chronic medical conditions, medication issues, and vision problems are just a few risk factors. Learning more about these risks will help greatly in preventing a fall in the first place.
Here are some helpful tips from the Council on Aging:
1. Make sure your senior loved one has regular vision and hearing checkups
2. Sign up for a balance class, or other exercise programs designed for seniors
3. Talk about it! Encourage conversation with their doctor to help them understand the risks of falling and how to prevent them.
4. Pay attention to the way they are walking or standing, especially if you notice them holding onto things as they move about.
5. Discuss medication side effects with their doctor. Some medications can increase dizziness or drowsiness, which can be a big fall risk.
6. Take up lose rugs around the house, as they can be a tripping hazard.
Senior falling can be prevented! By learning more about it and taking steps to prevent falls, you can greatly reduce the risk of a traumatic fall.
If you need help caring for a senior loved one, we can help. Call us or visit our Home Helpers website.