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Senior Fall Injuries

Updated on February 12, 2021
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Source

Falls by Senior Citizens

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older people worldwide. One third of seniors over 65 fall every year and 646,000 people die from falls or complications from falls each year. An older adult is seen in the emergency room every 11 seconds due to a fall.

Older women tend to fall in their homes, while older men fall more often in the garden. People in nursing homes tend to fall while on the way to the bathroom. Falls resulting in death often occur more frequently in low to middle-income countries.

Source

Types of Injuries From a Fall

Elderly people that fall tend to have head traumas, internal bleeding or hip fractures. Less than one half of falls by the elderly are reported to their doctor according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, falls often require hospitalizations and immobility in bed, which can result in respiratory or other types of infections.

Falls certainly threaten the safety and the independence of an elderly person. In addition, falls have a large economic and personal cost for the elderly population. Senior citizens usually avoid certain activities following a fall as they are afraid of falling again.

Elderly Fall Prevention

Source

Preventing Falls at Home

There are many reasons senior citizens fall at home. The eyesight of some seniors and their hearing is often not normal. Sometimes new medications can cause new problems with balance. Also, an elderly person's balance and gait may be unsteady, which certainly can make a fall more likely. It is important to have a safe space for senior citizens to live, but it does not mean a total house remodel.

Some of the many safety tips include:

  • Watch out for slippery floors
  • Keep electrical cords well out of the way
  • Keep all items off of the stairs and out of hallways
  • Remove or repair any tripping hazard, such as a torn rug, tile or wood floorboards
  • Remove throw rugs if someone is using a walker or if they are in a wheelchair
  • Install handrails or grab bars in stairways, by toilets and in showers
  • Baggy clothes can sometimes make people more likely to fall, so opt for better-fitting clothing
  • Keep adequate lighting by installing brighter light bulbs and use night lights in the bathrooms and bedrooms
  • Wear shoes at all times as just wearing socks prevent a risk
  • Wear non-slip shoes or non-slip socks designed for walking
  • Use non-slip mats on wet surfaces, like bathtubs, showers or porches
  • If possible live on one level, otherwise be extremely careful on stairs

It pays to move more slowly for seniors, whether arising from a chair to a standing position or just walking from room to room. A short pause when moving from a lying to sitting position or when standing up is also safer.

Elderly Fall Prevention

Final Conclusions

Safe living for seniors is not too difficult if they slow down and if their home has some safety features. My husband installed a grab handle by the shower and one by the toilet. We have removed some items from the floors as well, so the risk of tripping is reduced. We have added nightlights as well.

It is worth a little bit of effort and expense to live safely.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    I am glad this article has material to sare with your community students, Maria. I appreciate your comments.

    Love and hugs

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    11 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Your suggestions for fall prevention are excellent, Pamela.

    Will be sharing this with my community nursing students, as environmental assessments are a big focus in home health nursing.

    Love and thanks,

    Maria

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Alyssa,

    I agree that patience is important. I really appreciate your very nice comments.

  • Alyssa Nichol profile image

    Alyssa 

    11 months ago from Ohio

    This is a great article for everyone who has elderly parents or grandparents. It's important to remember to slow our pace and not to get frustrated or impatient with our loved ones. I love your tips to help seniors prevent falls at home! Very informative and helpful, Pamela!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Devika,

    There are several things we can do in the homes of seniors to prevent falls. Thank you for your comments.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    I live in a small community and majority are older citizens. Often they slip and fall or are living by themselves. You well written hub explains the reasons for avoiding the fall. It is informative and perfect. It creates a safe environment for seniors indeed.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Thank you for commenting, Linda.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    You've shared some important tips for preventing falls, Pamela. Thank you.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    12 months ago

    You're welcome.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Adrienne,

    I think you got the cause of death right. Being immobile for the elderly can be a death sentence, especially is they have some other health problems. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • alexadry profile image

    Adrienne Farricelli 

    12 months ago

    It's so sad when the elderly fall and very scary too. In my hometown, I have known of some elderly ladies who broke their femur bone and then sadly passed away some weeks or months afterward. I am not sure why, perhaps staying too long immobile impacted their circulation?

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ann,

    I can't imagine ice skating anymore either, not that I have skated in the past few decades. It pays to take safety precautions as we age even when we are healthy.

    Thnks so much for your comments.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    12 months ago from SW England

    Great article with good advice, Pamela. We have grab handles in the shower which are useful and give us peace of mind.

    So far, I'm lucky with my health but we all have to be careful not to fall. The only time I did injure myself was trying to recover my youth on the ice rink when on a school trip (as a teacher!); the pupils never forgot that, especially as I told them we didn't want anyone coming back to school in plaster! I landed on my behind and suffered a broken wrist. It was in the late 90s and I haven't been ice-skating since.

    I hope you're keeping well.

    Ann

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    I appreciate your comment, Robert.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    12 months ago

    Thank you for another important medical article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Abby,

    It is so easy to slip even if someone just spills a bit of water on the floor. Falls are so dangerous for the elderly. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Rajan,

    I have used grab handles since my husband installed them, especially the one by the shower. Thank you for your comments.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    12 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

    Some fine safety tips to prevent falls in the elderly. I think having a grab handle by the shower and toilet is of immense value as a safety feature. Thanks for sharing this useful hub.

  • Abby Slutsky profile image

    Abby Slutsky 

    12 months ago from America

    This was a good article. When I practiced law , the majority of our cases were slip and falls of people over 60. There was usually nothing on the floor, so I know it is a problem.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Audry,

    It does sound like some changes might be in order for you and your sister. I have fallen more than once and we have made some changes, so I hope to not fall again. Thank you for your comments, Audry. They are always appreciated.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    12 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    Boy, I've had some doozies when it comes to falling. Thank goodness it's been a long time since the last one which caused me to have knee surgery. My sister has had very serious falls, some caused by her seizures. Taking the necessary precautions, as you've listed here, is absolutely crucial.

    Thanks for this great article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ms Dora,

    We removed rugs also. I have fallen a couple of times but fortunately I didn't break anything. I hope neither of us fall again.

    I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    12 months ago from The Caribbean

    Pamela, I fell about a year ago, I fell and I refer to it as my last fall, because I pray that it is. I have minimum number of rugs on my floor, since I learned the danger of having them. Thanks for the helpful suggestions.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

    I fully agree with you. It doesn't take a huge amount of effort to just be more careful and more a little slower. I appreciate your commemts.

    Stay safe and healthy, Peggy.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Sp,

    You are right as falls can be serious and all we can do is take precautions to prevent them. Thank you for your comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    12 months ago from Houston, Texas

    We took some of these precautions when my mother, husband, and I lived together. Night lights and grab bars can make a huge difference. Your tip about not rising too rapidly from a lying down position is also good. Anything that can prevent a fall is worth pursuing.

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 

    12 months ago from Ireland

    It's very scary to think that a fall can have such serious reprecussions. I suppose all one can do is take the advice listed here and be cautious and try to prevent a fall in the first place.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Danny.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Linda, I am sorry to hear about your falls and the investment of lights is so worthwhile. We moved the scatter rugs when my mother moved in also.

    People are living longer, so I thought this was a very appropriate topic. I appreciate you sharing your experience and for your comments.

    Stay safe and healthy, Linda.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi MG,

    Your words are so true. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • M Drsleep profile image

    Dr Sleep 

    12 months ago from Pak

    A worth reading Article

  • emge profile image

    MG Singh emge 

    12 months ago from Singapore

    This is something serious and older people must know their limits. Falls at that age can be a disaster

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 

    12 months ago from Washington State, USA

    All excellent tips Pamela. Twenty years ago we installed lights on our stairway so that the steps are illuminated at night. Best investment ever! I've fallen three times (once on the kitchen floor with an unseen spill and the other two times were kitty-related) and with all 3 falls suffered broken ribs!

    I take this stuff seriously. When my MIL moved in with us years ago I removed all of the scatter rugs because she was so very frail. She couldn't navigate her walker love the "bumps". Thanks for this article, especially as we are doing more to take care of our loved ones at home.

  • Danny Fernandes profile image

    Danny 

    12 months ago from India

    Nice article, for senior care.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Shauna,

    Those falling lessons are painful as I have had a couple also. I am mre careful now also. I am glad you have the lights too. I appreciate your comments.

    Have a greeat week!

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    12 months ago from Central Florida

    Great advice, Pamela. I have a night light in my bathroom and keep a small, low wattage light on in the living room when I shut down for the night. I've also taken to turning on the hall light when I venture from my room to the rest of the house. Although I can navigate my house in the dark, I've slipped on cat throw up twice now and went down hard. Lesson learned!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill,

    I think most of us slow down a bit as we age. Thank you for reading and commenting on this article.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    12 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I'm very aware of this these days, and much more careful than I once was. Sad in a way, but such is life. :) Good information, Pamela!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Chitrangada,

    Having concern for your elderly relatives is understanable as most people have that concern. I certainly appreciate your very nice comments. Have a wonderful week.

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    12 months ago from New Delhi, India

    Thank you for sharing another wonderful article on an important topic.

    I can relate to this, because of my elderly parents, and other elderly relatives. So many thoughtful measures have to be taken in the home, in the bathroom, the stairs, the balcony and other places, to protect and prevent the elderly from the falls or injuries.

    You have some good and thoughtful suggestions, for those who take care of the seniors, at homes or the elderly care centres.

    Grateful to you for sharing this article. Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Liz,

    I think your family story is very much like the story of many families. I appreciate your comments, as always. Have a good week, Liz.

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    12 months ago from UK

    This is a very relevant article. If I look back in our family alone, falls have often been the start of a rapid decline in the health of the elderly. Up until that point, they managed okay, but falls diminished their quality of life and hastened their end.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Eric,

    I like your comment about hiking. LOL When we have dizziness and strength loss we are at a higher risk, so be safe Eric. I appreciate your comments. Have a good week.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish,

    Some of the new types of lights are very helpful. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

    The Covid virus has changed so many things. If somene ends up inursing home family members are not allowed to visit. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Rosina,

    I do hope these tips helps your relatives stay safer. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Lorna,

    You make several good points in your comments. I appreciate those points you make and your nice comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill

    That is exactly what happens, and those falls happen so fast. There is nothing fast about recovery. Thanks fr your comments, Bill.

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    12 months ago from Massachusetts

    Great tips Pam. Now if we can just get my in-laws to follow some of these. Actually they do take precautions, but it’s that one moment when they lose their guard that accidents happen. My mother in-law fell last year and fractured her pelvis, she spent many weeks in rehab and was fortunate to recover. It was a very painful experience for her, one I’m sure she doesn’t want to repeat.

  • Lorna Lamon profile image

    Lorna Lamon 

    12 months ago

    Great advice and this is a problem that should be discussed more often as people are living longer. Many elderly people living on their own are at risk of falling, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay because they don't have a carer. This also takes its toll on their mental health as many equate hospital with dying. Great safety tips and I loved the quote. Thank you for drawing attention to this ongoing issue Pamela.

  • surovi99 profile image

    Rosina S Khan 

    12 months ago

    Thank you, Pamela for this article about senior fall injuries which is so adequate for seniors. It poses many ideas how seniors can take safety measures from falling and hurting themselves. I will discuss with Mom and my elderly aunts about all the advice in this article.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    12 months ago from USA

    This is a good article and something I worry about, especially with my parents having important surgeries and being sent home so early due to the hospital environment and Covid dangers. Patients are being discharged too early yet told to quarantine at home often with minimal support (like an elderly spouse).

    My husband’s father died of a fall-related hip fracture after living triumphantly with a long list of serious medical ailments like stroke, heart problems and muscular dystrophy. He lived independently for 10 years after his wife died but it was a fall that did him in.

    There are some great plug in nightlights that dim and brighten depending on the need (daylight/nighttime, foot traffic). I have them throughout my home and they are very helpful.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Such an important message. We should take extra care. I had a short spell with dizziness and strength loss. The physical and occupational therapists were adamant I take some of these important precautions.

    I told them that the goal was to get me back to hiking mountains and canyons not to be safe. They fired me.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Lora,

    I appreciate you reading and commenting. I should add medications to my list.Thank you. You comments are so appreciated always.

    Stay safe and healthy, Lora.

  • Lora Hollings profile image

    Lora Hollings 

    12 months ago

    Your article really shines the spotlight on a very important issue on the serious short-term and even long-term repercussions of falls for seniors or even a younger age group. Medications as well as certain chronic medical conditions and age can certainly increase our chances of having falls. Your recommendations that would decrease the possibility of falls should be implemented in all households that have seniors or people who have mobility issues living there. This is a very detailed, well researched, and excellent article on this topic.Thanks for sharing, Pamela!

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