fear of falling is a very real concern to most Seniors. According to one recent survey, one out of
three adults 65 years old and older falls each year. Less than half of this number talk to their
healthcare providers about their falls even though they are the number one
cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for this age group.
leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of
independence, and trauma deaths for Seniors.
year, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for
fall-related injuries. The fall risk only increases with
age. People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times
more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility
for a year or longer.
person’s hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle. Of these, hip fractures are one of the most
serious types of fall injury. They are a leading cause of injury and loss of
independence, among older adults. Women
are particularly at risk for injuries resulting from falls. In fact, almost twice as many women as men
report hip fractures from falls.
So what can one do to minimize the risk of falling? Blanche Forrester, Sun Valley Lodge’s assisted
living manager, helps our residents deal with the risk every day. Blanche recommends the following general
rules to help keep Lodge residents safe:
with an emphasis on increasing leg strength and improving balance. It is important to keep challenging yourself
over time by increasing exercise intensity. Tai Chi and yoga programs are
especially good. Because of their emphasis on flexibility and coordination.
Don’t be afraid to
ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines—both prescription and
over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or
interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
Make your home
safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub
or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways,
and improving the lighting.
Make sure to get
adequate calcium and vitamin D—from food and/or from supplements. But, you want to make sure that to discuss any
supplementation with your doctor to make sure that it does not interfere with
weight bearing exercises.
Get screened and,
if needed, treated for osteoporosis.