Falls can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. However, in the older age group number of falls or we can say the severity of the injury increases.
Some of the common injuries caused due to the falls are shoulder dislocation, head injuries, spine, forearm, pelvic and hip fractures.
Falls are one of the major causes which rob elderly independence.
However, it is possible to prevent falls in order to live a happy and comfortable life.
Facts about elderly falls:
- According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it has been noted that each year one out of three adults in the age group of 65 and above, suffers due to falls.
- According to a report from NHDS (National Hospital Discharge Survey), more than 90 percent of hip fractures occur due to falls. Moreover, one out of three occurs in women.
- Approx. 40% of hip fracture patients requires nursing at home, 50% of them requires a walker. 25% of the people make a full recovery while 20% people suffering from hip fracture die within a year or two.
- In 2000, it has been noted that falls among the older age group cost more than $19 billion to US health care system according to the CDC.
There are certain things which can put you at the higher risk due to falls:
Medical Risk Factors –
- Hearing or vision loss.
- Cancer which affects the bones.
- Bladder and Urinary dysfunction.
- Depression, Senility, Alzheimer’s disease.
- Blood pressure fluctuation
- Irregular heart beat
- Hip, Arthritis imbalance and weakness.
- Side effects of the medication
Personal Risk Factors:
- Diet – An improper diet can lead decrease in the energy and strength.
- Activity – Lack of exercise can lead to decrease in muscle and bone strength. It often leads to imbalance between various body parts.
- Habits – Excessive smoking and alcohol intake can lead to decreasing bone strength. Alcohol intake can lead to unsteadiness and slow response time.
- Age – It has been noted that the risk of falls increases with the age. It affects our strength, eyesight, ability to respond quickly in an environment etc.
Home Risk Factors:
- Home risk factors include slippery wet surfaces, improper lighting, cluttered pathways, inadequate footwear etc.
- Most of the fractures are usually the result of falls in home. It includes fall while walking to bathroom, kitchen, stairs etc.
Prevention of falls:
Staying physically active and maintaining your health can reduce the risk of falling.
- Talk to your physician / doctor for your health.
- Try to participate in the programs that can boost up your confidence and strength like jogging, dancing, weight training, hiking, etc.
- You can also go for gardening and bicycling to improve your health.
- Tie shoelaces.
- Wear properly fit shoes of your size.
- Avoid heals, which increases your risk of falling off.
Maintain your health –
- Have a diet which has the adequate calcium and vitamin D.
- Avoid Alcohol and other Beverages.
- Leave smoking
- Get timely eye and health check – ups.
- Take medications as specified by your doctor.
- Consult your doctor in case you have any queries.
- Always keep your mobile phone / telephone nearby you.
- Sleep on your bed which is comfortable and easy to get in and out.
- Install nightlights in your room.
- Store food, liquid and other necessary items within your reach.
- Avoid standing on chair which can hurt you.
- Keep knife and other sharp equipments at a proper place.
Living Areas –
- Have adequate lighting at your home.
- Clean up the furniture.
- Stay away from the wires / telephone cords, where you can skip easily.
- Clean – up the spills immediately.
- Have a comfortable chair, bed, or a sofa.
So, here are some of the tips, which you must implement in your daily life in order to avoid any severe effect due to falls.