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Falls can be life threatening for elders

By 14th June, 2011 Care Home, Medical, Medical Assistance Comments Off

Falls is such a big problem among our elderly population.  Falls can lead to severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injuries and can even increase the risk of early death.  Most fractures among the elderly are caused by falls.  The most common are fractures of the hip, upper arm, forearm, hand, leg, ankle, and pelvis.  Fortunately, falls is a health problem that is largely preventable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in every 3 adults 65 and older will experience a fall.  Among those adults who are 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death.  In 2007, over 18,000 older adults died from unintentional falls and traumatic brain injuries accounted for 46% of these fatalities.  In 2006, there were 316,000 hospital admissions for hip fractures in people age 65 and older and over 90% of the hip fractures were caused by falling.

People age 85 and older are 10 to 15 times more likely to sustain a hip fractures than those who are 60 to 65.  One in every five hip fracture patient dies within a year of their injury, largely because of the complications following a hip fracture.  Treatment typically includes surgery and approximately one week of hospitalization then extensive rehabilitation that varies in duration depending on your progress.

Many people, who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling.  This fear causes them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility, decreased physical activity and exercise, which in turn would increase their risk of falling.

Ways to prevent or reduce the risk of Falls Include:

Exercising regularly.  It’s important that the exercise focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance.

Asking a medical professional to review your medications both prescription and over-the-counter medications-to reduce side effects and interactions that may be causing dizziness or drowsiness.

Having a routine vision exam at least annually and updating eyeglasses to maximize vision.

Making home improvements by reducing trip hazards, adding grab bars and railings, walk in showers and improved lighting.

Get screened and treated for osteoporosis.

Seek training for family members or caregivers to watch for signs or symptoms that an elder may be at an increased risk for falls.  Check your local area for fall prevention training programs or contact a Majestic Rose team member for help in finding a program near you.