Each year, one out of four people 65 and older falls. Falling is the leading cause of injury in the older population and can make it difficult to do everyday activities or even lead to death. Learning how to prevent seniors from falling can give peace of mind to older adults, loved ones, and caregivers—and even save a life.
Elderly Fall Prevention: 5 Common Causes of Falls in Older Adults
Falls can be scary and life-changing. Even the thought of falling can petrify people. Learning the leading causes of falls can help you learn how to prevent seniors from falling and how to take the steps for you or a loved one to live in a fall-safe environment:
- Health Conditions: Health conditions play a factor in fall risks. Poor vision and hearing make it hard for someone to be completely aware of their surroundings. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer can cause dizziness or weakened muscles, making it harder for someone to stand or move.
- Safety Hazards in the House: Houses can have many dangers that most people may never consider. Rugs and pets are easy to trip over. Poor lighting can make it hard to see where to walk. Steps can get difficult to climb. Even getting in and out of the shower or tub poses a slipping hazard.
- Difficulties with Walking or Balance: Coordination can start to diminish as people age, making it difficult to keep balance when walking. Past injuries can also make it harder to move around as the joints may not be as strong as other joints in the body.
- Medications: Some medications can cause dizziness or lightheadedness. If you or a loved one began taking a new medication and have noticed unusual dizziness, lightheadedness, or balance issues, contact a doctor to consider a new prescription.
Knowing these common causes of falls in seniors will help you take steps to make changes for elderly fall prevention.
How to Prevent Seniors from Falling
Though falling can happen to anyone at any time, there are elderly fall prevention measures to take to keep you or a loved one safe:
- Stay Active: Regular exercise like cardio and weight lifting will strengthen muscles and the core. Yoga is also great to keep your body flexible and withhold positions for long durations.
- Fall-Proof House: Most people want to continue living in their homes as they age. Take steps to make the household environment safer to maneuver through. Tape rugs to the ground so they don’t slide, or roll them up. Install safety rails on stairs and safety handles in showers. Make sure there are clear paths in the hallways and to the bed.
- Use Assistive Devices: Devices like walkers, canes, or crutches can help maintain balance for those struggling with gait or recovering from an injury or surgery.
- Get a Health Check-Up: Getting a check-up with a doctor will help determine if there are any health conditions about which to be worried. A check-up can help monitor vision and hearing as well as heart health and other conditions.
- Choose Healthy Eating and Drinking Habits: Proper nutrition filled with calcium and Vitamin D can help boost muscle and bone mass. Limiting or avoiding alcohol will keep your body healthy as well as not accidentally tripping from intoxication.
- Wear Proper Footwear: The types of shoes worn can help minimize falling. High heels, flip-flops, and slick-soled shoes will increase the chance of a fall. Consider tennis shoes meant for walking or running. Also, consider shoes without laces. Orthotics specifically designed for a person can provide cushion and extra support.
What to Do if You Fall
In the unfortunate event of a fall, staying calm is the most important thing to do. As you try to relax, be sure you take a few moments to gather yourself before getting up. Doing so in the wrong position or too quickly can cause an injury. If able, crawl to a stable location such as a chair or bench, and brace yourself on the object. Then call 911.
But what happens if you fall and you can’t move or you don’t have access to a phone? No fret. HandsFree Health offers many WellBe® medical alert devices that will come to your rescue such as the:
- Medical Alert PLUS Smartwatch: A watch that is one click away from speaking with emergency support.
- Medical Alert PLUS Smart Speaker: A voice-activated entertainment speaker with an emergency alert, voice recognition, and reminders.
- Medical Alert Pendant: A two-way communication device with emergency dispatch and automatic fall detection capabilities.
Don’t wait for an emergency before taking action. By knowing elderly fall prevention tips and using WellBe medical devices, you or a loved one can Be Heard, Be Healthy, Be Empowered. To learn more, visit our website or download your complimentary eBook guide on Caring for Aging Parents 101.