Senior Fall Injuries
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.
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
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
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