A fall is a serious event. The ramifications are many, both physical and psychological.
According to the CDC, adults over 65 have a 25% greater risk of falling than younger people. It is thought that if someone falls once, their risk of falling again doubles. Care is often required after a fall, which raises the issue of loss of independence, a significant concern affecting so many older adults.
A fall is traumatic, regardless of whether or not there is a major injury. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, recovery may be difficult. Some people may never recover to their previous level of ability. Self confidence may be lower. It is easy to see how this can contribute to overall health decline and increased care needs. Physical changes that can be a part of normal aging may contribute to this risk, including:
- Decline in eyesight – Loss of peripheral vision, macular degeneration, other vision loss
- Loss of strength and flexibility
- Decreased endurance – Fatigue, lowered energy
- Less ability and/or desire to walk- Increasing muscle loss and balance issues may make it more difficult to walk.
- Sense of balance changes/feelings of vertigo
- Medication-Possible interactions from increasing types and amounts of medications
- Changes in cognition, concentration, and spatial awareness
There are, however, some ways to reduce fall risk:
- Keep pathways clear and remove items that could be a tripping hazard
- Install handrails and other safety features, such as more lighting, ramps, etc.
- Daily walks, light housework and gardening
- Be mindful of declining vision and keep prescriptions up-to-date for glasses
- Regular doctor visits
- Invest in good shoes with plenty of support and ensure proper use of walkers or canes, if required
- Schedule an in-home, non-medical assessment with a professional eldercare consultant who can assist you in finding resources and oversee home modifications
Some changes as we age are inevitable, while some are more manageable. If you or someone you care about are at risk for falls, hopefully this information will encourage you to be more aware and implement the necessary preventive measures to help reduce the risk.
If you would like more information about Senior Care Authority’s services, such as our in-home, non-medical assessment, get in touch with us today- we can help!