Falls are the number one cause of injuries in older adults in the United States.
As you age, it becomes more difficult to balance and you aren’t as flexible as you used to be, and that increases your risk of falling. For older Americans, not only is falling more likely, it’s also a lot more dangerous. According to the National Council on Aging, a fourth of all Americans aged 65+ fall every year. That means that every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated for a fall in an emergency room. Falls are so common that they are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults, and as you can see, they are a serious problem.
Busting the myth that falling is a normal part of getting older.
Many people believe that falling is just a normal part of the aging process. In fact, some people are so sure that they will fall, and are so worried about it, that they will socially isolate themselves —which you can read more about in our previous blog series — or refrain from doing anything that may be deemed as too risky. This takes a serious toll on quality of life and can lead to depression and anxiety. The good news is that you can take steps to lower your risk of falling, and you can also take steps to limit your injuries in case you do fall. But first, you need to learn what causes older people to fall in the first place.
What causes people to fall?
- Slipping – Due to a loss of traction or footing.
- Balance problems
- Reduced vision
- Decline in muscle strength
- Alcohol consumption
- Some medications – Including medications for blood pressure, heart health, and insomnia, as well as diuretics and muscle relaxants.
As we mentioned earlier, you can prevent falls, but in order to do that, you need to identify what is increasing the falls risks for you. Once you know what your fall risks are, you can take steps to address them specifically. For instance, if you have poor vision, then your path toward fall prevention would be to get an updated prescription for your glasses or to upgrade the lighting in your home so that you can clearly see any obstacles in your way.
What can you do to minimize your injuries if you do fall?
While you can take steps to lower your risk of falling, there’s nothing you can do that will eliminate the risk entirely. However, you can help to minimize your injuries in case a fall does occur by keeping your bones strong and healthy. Here are a few ways to protect your bones in the event of a fall:
- Get a bone mineral density test (BMD) from your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about taking calcium, vitamin D and any medications that could make your bones stronger.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
At Serenity Gardens, we are proud to be your go-to assisted living facility with memory care in Friendswood. We’ll take steps to ensure that you or your loved one will remain as independent as possible for as long as possible, and a part of that is preventing falls. Please make sure to stay tuned for our next blog to learn what you can do to lower your risk of falling, and contact us to learn more about our memory care assisted living.