Falls are the most frequent cause of injury death in older adults over 65. There can be many causes:
Medications can affect balance and coordination.
Medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, stroke, and heart conditions can affect the ability to prevent falls.
Vision loss impairs the ability to maintain mobility.
Hazards around the home can cause an unexpected fall.
Foot problems with pain can cause a fall.
Cognitive problems can hamper visual spatial awareness
Inability to stay focused will cause falls.
Low blood pressure will affect balance.
Joint surgery contributes to insecurity of footing during recovery
Depression will make individuals less aware of their surroundings leading to falls.
Research shows that just having the fear that they might fall causes older adults to minimize physical activity which leads to more atrophy of muscles and greater risk of falls. As a result, an older adult may require home health care to help them live successfully in their home.
Utilizing light weights and low impact exercise like walking or swimming are great ways to maintain muscle strength and mobility. Tai Chi, yoga, stretching, biking and dancing are all good ways to stay in good muscle tone. As the body gets older, it may have to be tapered to chair exercises or exercise with supports. Getting up and down from a seated position ensures strength in the thighs. Practice balance activities with eyes closed. This keeps your center of balance intact.
Check the home to be sure that the bed isn’t too high and that there are grab bars in the tub and toilet areas. Eliminate piles that can trip someone. Make sure laundry does not have to be carried to the basement. Are there stair rails on both sides? If vision is low or impaired, are there red or yellow strips on the edge of stairs? Are lighting levels high enough? Are there non-skid strips on any slippery surfaces outside? Remove throw rugs as they are a fall hazard unless they are permanently tacked down.
Hire assistance to change light bulbs and make sure they are of high enough wattage to cover the area to be lit. Hire out gutter cleaning, window cleaning and anything that may require a ladder.
If pets are in the home, cautiously walk around them so they don’t trip anyone. In essence, stay present to where you are in your space at all times.
For more information on falls or to learn about medical alert systems please visit our website: www.personallivingalert.com