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How to Prevent Falls as We Age

Updated on July 1, 2017
Author Cheryl profile image

Author Cheryl has been a nurse for 33 years. She has taken care of the elderly enough to give advice on falling.

How to Make Your Home Safe

I've Fallen and Can't Get Up

We know that commerical very well as seen on TV but it happens more then you think. I have been an acrobat all my life falling over things, breaking bones and worse the bruising of a bone.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
  • In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion.
  • The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.


Installing a Bed Rail Can Help Imensly

Preventing Falls Can Be Easy

Everyone at some point in their life will either take care of an elderly loved one or themselves. Falling, can be for the most part, can be prevented.

  1. Get rid of the throw rugs. They do what they say they do "throw you"
  2. Clean up clutter on the floor. If you see a piece of paper or a wrapper or anything that is slippery pick it up.
  3. Install grab bars in your shower.
  4. Raise your toilet seats so you don't have so far to stand up.
  5. Avoid loose clothing that you can become entangled in.
  6. Make sure your home is well lit at night before you go from room to room. The clapper installed for lighting to come on is a great idea.
  7. Do not wear socks alone. You will fall and bust your butt if you have slippery wood or tile floors.
  8. Live on one level is you are able too. Stairs can be detrimental if you fall down them.
  9. Use slip resistant mats in the tub or shower or buy no skid strips
  10. Move more carefully. We tend to think we know our homes so well that we would never fall but I have proven time and time again that it is not true. I need to be put in a bubble because I am clumsy.
  11. Install a bed rail on the side of the bed so there is something to grab to help stand up.

Keep it Moving

The Cause of Falls

  1. Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors. As we age our legs become weaker. Its important to stay active.
  2. Your balance and your gait. I have had vertigo most of my adult life and it has cost me some pretty severe and painful falls.
  3. Blood pressure that drops too much when you get up from lying down or sitting can increase your chance of falling.
  4. Vertigo a sense that the room is spinning.
  5. Reflexes become slower.
  6. Foot problems that cause painful feet, and wearing unsafe footwear can increase your chance of falling.
  7. Not seeing well or having sensory issues
  8. Confusions and some medications can cause falls.

It could be one or all of these things that cause falls. If you are feeling dizzy constantly or you can't see well, then its time to visit your doctor. Having vertigo is not normal and it may be a quick fix. You must learn to be careful because one fall could cause a broken hip, broken ribs, broken arms or all of these things.

Keep Up Your Strength

Source

Prevention is the Key

The older you get the more important it is to be as active as you possibly can. Keep active to reduce the risk of falling Regular exercise helps to maintain strength, flexibility and energy levels. So if you getting older and noticing you can’t do some of the things you used to do and are becoming less independent, then you need to exercise. It is never too late to start exercising as you can start gradually. The government advises to limit the amount of time sitting still. Start small and try to build up to the point where you can do more moderate intensity activities which make you breath harder and get your heart pumping faster.

National Health and Safety Institute advises that anyone who is generally fit and over 65 needs to do two types of physical activity each week to improve health: aerobic and strength exercises. It is recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and strength exercises. Moderate aerobic activities are anything that raises your heart rate to make your breath faster and feel warmer. Daily chores such as shopping, housework and cooking do not count as this doesn’t raise your heart rate enough. Try taking a brisk walk or doing some gardening, perhaps join a dancing or yoga class.

A Falling Inspriational Video

What You Should Do if You or Someone Else Falls

The worst thing you can do when you fall is have someone pick you up or pick someone up that has fallen.

First you must see if you are injured. The question you want to answer is will I be able to get up. You should check all your limbs to make sure they are working before you even attempt to stand. Once you have established that you can get up, do it slowly..

You may think that heat will help but you should always ice an injury for the first 24 hours. 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

If you are hurting really bad, you might want to see your doctor especially if it has been a few weeks and it still hurts badly.

If you are out in public don't worry about who saw you. Have someone call an ambulance so that they can acess your injuries.

If you are having spasms after the first 24 hours then by all means use heat but if you are having severe spasms then you should see your doctor.

If you live alone either get one of those life alerts and where it at all times. Elderly have spent days on the floor because they couldnt get up.

Find out if your falling is from a medical issue. If you have vertigo or balance issues talk to your doctor about it.

Stay safe and don't try acrobatics at home.

© 2017 Cheryl

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    • tomsmithnow profile image

      Tomi Smith 3 weeks ago

      Nice informative article!

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