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Fall prevention tips for seniors-and what makes Seniors fall in the first place?

When we were kids, it was no problem to fall over. I expect you’ve lost count of the number of times you fell off your bike or slipped when running. Falling over is just a part of growing up. Isn’t it?

Unfortunately, now you’re all grown up, falling over isn’t as much fun. In fact, if you’re a senior of 60 years and over and you lose balance and fall, you can cause major damage to your body requiring surgery or it might even be fatal. Not good!

Although there will always be a chance of falling when you’re older, there are many things you can do to reduce the damage and in fact, to reduce the risk of falling in the first place.

You need to know everything about fall prevention.

Hopefully, this guide will enlighten seniors and their carers as to the risks of falling and give advice on how to reduce the possibility.

What percentage of seniors fall each year? ?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention publishes many stats about the dangers of falling. Although this is an American website, the facts and advice are valid, no matter where you live. So, go online and have a look. You know it makes sense!

I won’t go into too much detail with these as stats tend to be pretty dry. But, let me just tell you a few of the most shocking.

  • Thirty million seniors fall each year, causing about 30,000 deaths.
  • 20% of falls result in a serious injury. Examples include broken bones and fractured skulls.
  • Falling sideways causes over 95% of broken hips.
  • Women are more prone to falling than men and account for 75% of broken hips.

What are the results of falling?

Not only does falling cause major bone injuries, but it also causes bumps, bruises, and serious psychological trauma too.

Don’t belittle the psychological effects as they can lead to isolation, inactivity, and dependence on others. If someone falls and seriously hurts themselves, they will try to prevent this from happening again in the future. But, becoming less active with less exercise means they are weaker and so more prone to falling.

About 80% of seniors lose their independence after being released from hospital after a fall. Many seniors who end up in hospital after a serious fall, often die within a year of going home again. But with positive energy and a little work you can always overcome troubles on the way.

What makes a senior fall in the first place?

Most falls are caused by a stumble or a trip, knocking the senior off balance. They then haven’t the strength to recover their balance and fall to the ground.

There are quite a few triggers that cause a stumble and we should now look at some of the most common.

  • Tripping. Getting your feet tangled in something will cause this. A phone lead, pet cat or dog under your feet, getting undressed ready for bed, stumbling over a rug, or poor lighting around the house.
  • Slipping Wet floors after bathing, muddy or icy ground, wearing socks without shoes on a smooth floor, wet grass or uneven paving.
  • Alcohol  It goes without saying that if you’ve had a few too many, you can lose your balance and fall.
  • Exhaustion. Too much exercise or work will cause this. Have plenty of rest time spread throughout the activities. Don’t stop exercising, just don’t overdo it!
  • Dizziness. If you have an inner ear or sinus infection you can become dizzy. Likewise, if you suffer from motion sickness or vertigo. Dizziness equates to a loss of balance.

We all at some time experience these triggers with usually very little effect. So, what makes seniors more susceptible?

Elderly that are more prone to falls

A variety of factors can turn an innocent slip or stumble into a more serious event. Usually, it’s to do with a lack of body strength or balance. Let’s have a look at some factors now.

Chronic health conditions are probably the most probable cause. These can be something as simple as low blood pressure,  to something more serious such as a stroke, arthritis or Parkinson’s disease. Whatever the condition, it’s worth getting it looked at by a doctor. And, important that the senior takes more care when mobile.

Acute illnesses like ear infections, dehydration, and urinary tract infections can cause problems. Once again consult a doctor as soon as you think something is wrong.

Problems with age are another cause that we should talk about. By these, I mean weak leg muscles, glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems, poor reaction time, and foot conditions such as ingrowing toenails, bunions, etc. You can’t avoid some of these, but you can at least take care and do your best to mitigate them.

So you’ve gone through this lot trying to work out what’s causing your problems. Have you thought about looking at your existing medications?  Many pills and tablets can cause problems with balance if not taken properly or misprescribed.  Typical medications include psychotropics, blood pressure pills, sedatives, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. 

There are many more factors but for now, we’ll just say that wearing heels or worn-out slippers can cause a fall too.

Fall prevention tips/What can seniors do to prevent falls?

In this section, you will get a lot of tips on how to prevent falls. In short. It can be done by taking care of your body and environment that surrounds you. Try to implement useful fall prevention tactics. Talk to your doctor about it and join some fall prevention program.

Let’s get into details.

Exercise

Try to increase your body strength, especially your legs. This will also tend to help with balance problems too. Try walking every day, but if you feel that’s a problem, then join your local senior’s swimming club or water aerobics. If that doesn’t interest, then try Tai Chi or Yoga to improve balance. If you have a friend who enjoys dancing, why not do that once a week? You don’t have to go to a dance hall, you could dance at home to the radio.

Remodel your home

By this, I mean factors in your home that may cause problems. Fix loose stair carpet, ensure the floor is tidy and there aren’t any trailing lamp leads. Make sure you reduce the risk of falling in the bathroom. Fit handrails wherever you find problems, like walking up steps or along the garden path. Some nightgowns trail along the floor. Buy a shorter one or turn up the hem on your existing. Make sure you’re wearing the correct spectacles to prevent dizziness and ensure you’re avoiding obstacles.

Nutrition

Make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrients and fiber in your diet will help prevent minor infections and illnesses and ensure your body is working at its peak. You’ll no longer feel exhausted or fatigued. Strengthen your body with protein intake.

Sometimes, everyone catches a stomach bug. If you experience gastrointestinal or urinary problems make sure you keep your fluid intake as high as possible.

See your doctor after a fall

Always have an annual checkup with your doctor as well as having an eye and ear examination. Even a problem with eyes and ears can greatly increase the chance of stumbling. Some medications may cause balance problems. Obviously, you shouldn’t just stop taking your medication. You might end up seriously ill. But, you can speak to your doctor and see if you can safely come off some of them or take an alternative drug instead. One without the side effects.

What’s next?

Being aware of the environment around you, what you eat and drink, looking after your body and visiting your healthcare professional regularly will help prevent a fall as much as possible.

Obviously, you can’t wrap yourself in cotton and go through life frightened to do anything. But, following the information we’ve spoken about here will go a long way to reducing the occurrence of a fall and it may help you to prevent injuries.

Do everything you can to look after yourself and there’s no reason why you can’t live a full and joyful life.

I hope you fount this post helpful. In case you want to read more I will outline some topics related to fall prevention and safety. If you like to exercise with a treadmill be sure to check my tredmill safety tips. In case you are afraid to fall off the bed check my tips to prevent this to happen.

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