Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury death for those 65 or older? Having a bad spill can ignite a snowball effect on an elderly person’s health, which could wind up seriously aggravating any prior illnesses or conditions. Avoiding a fall as an elderly person is vital to ensuring continued health and prevent any harmful complications from arising. Another fact from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention is that roughly 40 percent of those who need to be hospitalized from a fall won’t be able to live independently again.
Preventing Injury & Senior Falls
Some conditions to look out for in case you may be at risk include:
- Feelings of being light-headed and dizziness when standing or sitting
- Tripping hazards around your residence such as wires, rugs, or pets
- Feelings of weakness or frail bones
- Poor lighting combined with weak eyesight
- Bad balance combined with lack of exercise, poor diet
- Trouble hearing, assigning directions to sounds
To reduce the risk of falling for seniors, it can be helpful to follow a few simple steps. Make sure to eat well, and follow Health and Fitness for Seniors. Drink lots of water and keep active doing age appropriate exercises daily. Here are some tips to avoid falling for seniors:
- Eat healthy and exercise daily to strengthen muscle, bones, and cardiovascular health
- Clear your house of any tripping hazards, or enlist someone else to help do this
- Have night lights throughout your house in case you need to get up in the middle of the night
- Install grab bars in your bathroom and on the side of stairs
- If you live alone, consider wearing an alert device such as LifeAlert
- Visit a physical therapist who can teach you how to stand up after suffering a fall
- If you use a cane, make sure the rubber tip is not worn down, and replace it if it is.
- Consider buying a bell for your cat or dog so that they do not suddenly go under your feet
In the Netherlands, a course is offered to seniors looking to improve their odds of faring well against a sudden fall. In fact, 100’s of these courses are offered across the country every year, and include courses on how to traverse difficult inclines to how to stand up after falling on the ground. In fact, the courses have become so popular, that the Dutch government has even started rating them and some health insurance policies will even cover some of the costs.
The Rising Healthcare Cost of Falling
Falls for senior citizens are becoming a growing public health concern. It is estimated that more than 29% of adults aged 65 and older fall annually. Approximately ⅓ of seniors who do fall wind up seeking serious medical care to aid in their recovery. As the United States growing Boomer population reaches retirement age, the population growth of the elderly could levy serious healthcare costs to taxpayers.
The high volume, long term ramifications, and price of falling over the next 20 years could seriously affect our healthcare system, One study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society estimates that the number of falls ands associated healthcare costs will increase significantly over the next 20 years.
National Council on Aging:
Info-graphics, brochures, tip sheets, videos, and other resources for older adults and caregivers:
- 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall Infographic.
- 6 Steps to Preventing Falls Among Your Loved One
- Osteoarthritis and Falls
- Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls
- Winterize to Prevent Falls
- 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall Video.
- You Have the Power to Prevent a Fall Video
- Making Your Home Falls Free
- Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Program Summaries. Find a program in your community by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging, State Falls Prevention Coalition, or an Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging Falls Prevention Grantee.
- Falls Prevention and Healthy Aging Blog for Older Adults and Caregivers, including a blog post about 18 Steps to Fall Proof Your Home.
- Falls Prevention Success Stories
- Falls Prevention Awareness Day Resources
Centers for Disease Control
STEADI includes educational materials, including fact sheets, brochures, graphics and tools to improve falls prevention:
- Family Caregivers: Protect Your Loved Ones from Falling.
- Stay Independent Brochure.
- What You Can Do to Prevent Falls Brochure.
- Postural Hypertension: What It Is and How to Manage It.
Brochure on how to get up from a fall:
An exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Download these materials or order free printed copies directly to your home.
- Exercise and Physical Activity Guide.
- Exercise Guide Audiobook
- Tip sheets
- Motivational Flyers
- Success Stories
National Institute on Aging
Age Pages and other resources:
- Falls and Fractures Age Page
- Medicines: Use Them Safely Age Page
- Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit for Life Age Page
- A Good Night’s Sleep Age Page
- Talking with Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People
- NIH Senior Health
Includes a family care giving video series, and a guide to smart solutions for making a home comfortable, safe, and a great fit.
- Family Caregiving Video Series Guide to Mobility. Available in English and Spanish.
- Family Caregiving Video Series Guide to Medication Management
- HomeFit Guide
American Occupational Therapy Association
Includes falls prevention, remaining in your home as you age, Alzheimer’s disease, low vision, and others.
American Physical Therapy Association
Numerous patient care and consumer education materials including two videos: One for caregivers and one on improving balance and avoiding falls, and related resources.
Eldercare Locator Preventing Falls at Home Brochure:
Offers a home safety check to help people understand what to do to help prevent falls around the home.
If you’re seeking assisted living in Massachusetts, reach out to Landmark Senior Living. Landmark at Longwood offers our residents direct access to numerous religious, cultural, medical, and historical endeavors. Nestled on top of a hill, Landmark at Longwood offers spectacular views of the City of Boston and surrounding neighborhoods.