No one can be safe from falling; however, major statistics in this sector is about seniors. This group is much more prone to different fall-related injuries due to their age and health state but frequently needs additional assistance and care far more often than other age groups.
Surely, it is not necessarily that age is always responsible for falls. A person is perfectly able to age gracefully and with proper care and help avoid the situations of potential falls. This is where various care programs come to aid as well as medical alert systems and other options.
At the present moment the fall statistics is the following:
- About a third of the seniors aged 65 and older fall at least once a year.
- Emergency rooms around the country receive a fall-related cause about each 13 seconds. And, sad it is to say, every 20 minutes an adult dies from a fall-related problem.
- Seniors represent one of the largest groups that apply for hospital assistance with relation to a light or severe fall-related problem.
- Falls are in charge of about 2.5 million injuries as well as 734,000 hospitalizations and about 21 thousand deaths.
- Falls are also expensive in terms of medical care – fall-related injuries result in $34 billion for patients.
- Despite the fact that the number is pretty high, it is yet expected to become even higher till 2020, in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Falls seem pretty harmful as a happening – however, it is the consequential injuries that are not very good. When it comes to people over 65, things get even worse. Falls and its consequences can limit a person life in many ways and seniors are especially vulnerable in this respect.
The most common reasons for people to fall are:
- Slipping on wet surface, tripping on some obstacle;
- All senior reflexes are slower, which means that they actually are not able to react properly in certain situations;
- Elderly people usually have problems with balance to add to the reflex situation;
- Vision does not get better with age; neither physical strength increases;
- Most seniors take some kind of medicine on a permanent basis; some also drink alcohol to add to all aforementioned problems.
Some of the basic tips on fall prevention are very simple.
First of all, many medicines are able to make a person dizzy, that is why it is important to remember that if you are on a therapy with hypertension meds, diuretics, and, generally speaking, any heart pills – the risk of feeling dizzy is higher, so it the risk of falling as well.
As it has already been mentioned, alcohol is not helpful in keeping balance, let alone its harmful qualities in general. It is not recommended to drink it often or if it has stronger effect on you and you are aware of it. It causes dizziness, loss of balance as well as disorientation among other things; it is definitely a culprit of many falls.
There are other reasons also; in order to avoid falls, one should understand several simple things. This is especially true about seniors. Some people find it hard to accept that they are going to have certain limitations and won’t be able to live the way they used to. However, the faster a person understands that running or jumping with a weak heart or poor vision is not an option anymore and that with proper care and measures taken, life can be as wonderful as it is used to be at earlier points.
Some Council on Aging tips include the following fall prevention steps:
- It is essential to talk about the risks of falling – many people do not realize that they no longer have the same levels of strength and agility as they used to and that they need to be more careful.
- It can also be helpful to discuss the option of nursing assistance, or acquiring a medical alert system for a home use, or something of the kind.
- It can also be helpful for a family to discuss the medications that seniors take and explain the side-effects that can accompany them; and take precautions as well.
It is much easier to take fall-preventive measures than to deal with injuries after a fall. Seniors heal much slower than young people and a broken leg can pin a person to bed for months, depriving them of the life they love and causing depression. It is much better to not allow a fall to happen and a leg to be broken in the first place.