As our loved ones get older, falls become more and more of a hazard. The National Institute on Health reports that falls cause more trauma-related hospital admissions, fractures, loss of independence and injuries for older adults. Numbers like these make you realize just how susceptible seniors are to falls and how serious of an issue falls are. Thankfully, there are ways to recognize fall risks and take appropriate action.
One of the biggest, and possibly most obvious, factors that can lead to falls is aging. As we get older our reflexes get slower and our sense of balance diminishes. This combination can turn a small slip into a big fall. Another aging factor is weak leg muscles. This can happen as seniors become less mobile and the muscle strength in their legs gets worse.
Studies have shown that the more medication a senior takes, the more likely they are to experience a fall. This happens because a lot of medications commonly prescribed to seniors have side effects like dizziness, confusion, and impaired brain circulation.
The best way to prevent falls is to identify the most likely causes and act appropriately. If falls are being caused by balance and reflex issues, exercise classes that focus on improving these functions can be a huge help. A geriatrician can also review all medications to help curb the negative effects of medications.
One of the best ways to help seniors avoid falls is to buy a cane or walker. This allows them to retain mobile and maintain their muscle strength, but also gives them more sure footing in case of a slip or momentary loss of balance.
Falls are common among seniors, but they don’t have to be. By being proactive and spotting the early signs you can help your aging loved one avoid falls and stay out of the hospital.