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  • Fall Prevention as we Age

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    We love Fall! But when we say that we mean the season. As the days become shorter, and the temperatures begin to dip some people can have an increased risk of falls. While many of us can admit we’ve tripped and fallen on occasion, for our Seniors those falls can result in severe injury, including death.

    According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone 65 years of age of older in this country falls every second of every day. Fall injuries are treated at the emergency room every 13 seconds and claim a life every 20 minutes.

    The good news is falls are preventable and you can do something about it for you and your loved ones.

    Falls usually don’t just happen and people don’t fall just because they get older. Often there are underlying causes and risk factors such as medications, health conditions or environment, which can greatly increase the chance of a fall.

    The most common sources for falls are:

    Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.

    Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.

    Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.

    Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.

    Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.

    Here’s a few tips to keep you upright:

    1. Talk to them about your concerns and enlist the help of their physician to suggest programs which may help them.

    2. Are they taking their prescribed medications on schedule? And regularly?

    3. Suggest a full vision assessment and eye exam

    4. Are they struggling to maintain balance? Holding on to furniture? Leaning against walls? It may be time to consult with a Physical Therapist

    5. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult an Occupational Therapist. Here are some examples:

    Lighting: Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night.

    Stairs: Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.

    Bathrooms: Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.


    Sources: NCOA.org 

    Dawn
    Oct 21, 2019
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