Falls In The Elderly. Did You Know?
Many unintentional falls do not cause injuries, however, statistics indicate that one out of every five falls does cause a serious injury. These injuries can make it difficult for a person to get around, perform their daily activities or live independently. Many people who fall, even if they are not injured become afraid of falling. Because of this, it may lead to a decrease in their activity level and they become weaker due to the loss in muscle tone. This leads to leads to a loss of strength, flexibility and balance and unfortunately increases their risk of falling again. Falls can cause broken bones in the wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures. Falls can also cause head injuries which could be serious, if this occurs, the person should be evaluated by their physician right away to make sure they do not have a brain injury. FALL PREVENTION DESERVES YOUR ATTENTON
Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These conditions are called risk factors. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include the following: • Lower body weakness • Vitamin D deficiency • Difficulties with walking and balance • Vision problems • Foot pain or improper fitting shoes • Throw rugs and clutter • Absence of hand rails Use of certain medicines can affect a persons’ balance and steadiness. These medications include but not be limited to antidepressants, sedatives and tranquilizers. SPOT LIGHT Shocking Statistics Highlight the Importance of Preventing Unintentional Falls. These statistics should encourage everyone to take deliberate precautions when caring for a patient or loved one. Keep in mind, as we age, we lose muscle strength and flexibility, and sometimes our balance reactions are altered as well. ABC….ALWAYS BE CAREFUL…ONE FALL CAN CHANGE IT ALL The most profound effect of falling is the loss of dignity, functioning and independence. When an elderly person falls, their hospital stays are almost twice as long as those of elderly patients who are admitted for other reasons. • The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than men. • More than half of all fatal falls involve people age 75 or older • Among people aged 65 – 69, one out of every 200 falls result in a hip fracture.
That number increases to one out of every 10 for those age 85 and older. • Two-thirds of those who experience an unintentional fall will fall again within six months.