Ways to Decrease the Risk of Falls for Seniors

Seniors are susceptible to falls for many reasons–bad balance, poor eyesight, dizziness, overall weakness and fragility. Consider the following staggering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

– One in every three adults 65 and older fall each year.
– Falls represent the leading cause of injury deaths in this age group.
– Falls are the most common cause of injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
– Falls account for 87% of all fractures for the elderly.
– For people ages 65+, 60% of fatal falls happen at home, 30% in public, and 10% in health care institutions.
– Of all fractures from falls, hip fractures cause the greatest number of deaths and lead to the most severe health problems.
– Half of all older adults hospitalized for hip fractures are not able to return home or live independently after their injuries.

You can reduce the likelihood of falls in your home by taking certain precautions. Many falls are the result of:

– Items that can be easily tripped over (paper, books, clothes, shoes). In addition, moving around phone and electrical wires, as many people do, can create hazards.
– Scattered rugs that bunch up or stick up at the edges. Recommended are double-sided adhesive tapes to keep rugs flat.
– Poor lighting. Many people hope to save money by scrimping on lighting. Good lighting is particularly important with older people that often have decreased vision. In addition, keeping a night light on is important in case you get up at night to use the bathroom.
– Mats in the bathtub and shower floors that may slide.
– Walking in shoes with worn-out soles that may slide on wet floors, or slippers without backs.

It is important to have handrails on all staircases and grab bars in the bathtub and near the toilet. This provides support and something to grab onto if you suddenly stumble or feel unsteady.

Certain medications may increase your risk of falling. If you are on the following types of medications be extra cautious because they can be responsible for falls:

– Blood pressure medications
– Heart medications
– Diuretics
– Tranquilizers and muscle relaxers

If you are often alone and at risk of falling you may consider getting a personal emergency response system. This service, which works through your telephone line, provides a button or bracelet to wear at all times in your home. If you fall or need emergency assistance for any reason, a push of the button will alert the service.

Finally, if you have fallen or are prone to falls and need companion or personal care in your home Perpetual Home Care is here to help. Our high-quality aides (CNA’s) can help with errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, grooming, ambulation and much more. Please visit our website at www.perpetualhomecare.com or all us at 919-861-5245 today!

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