8 Reasons Why Seniors Fall and How it Can Be Prevented
You’re walking to your living room to wind down for the evening when you trip over your rug and fall. This wouldn’t be a horrible problem except you’re not as young as you used to be. You also live alone so there is nobody around to help you get off the floor.
The longer you stay down the higher risk you run to have lasting health problems from it. Many seniors everywhere are having this same exact problem that you’re having now. The good news is that there are ways to prevent it.
To help keep you stay safe, here are a few common causes of falls in the elderly and how they can be avoided.
1. Physical Fitness
As you become older you may start to exercise less and less each day. It’s understandable because your body doesn’t move the way it did when you were younger but once you stop your muscles will begin to age faster.
To keep your muscles in top form and to stop yourself from falling, you’ll need to try and do light exercises a few times a week. This will keep you from not only losing muscle mass but bone mass as well. You’ll also get to keep your balance, coordination, and flexibility.
2. Bad Vision
Even if you’re in top physical condition, if your eyesight is bad you could still fall. Degenerative eye diseases that come with aging can cause you to miss small obstacles on the ground such as rugs and puddles.
You can stop these sorts of falls from happening by seeing your eye doctor regularly and wearing your prescription glasses if you need them.
It feels like the older you get the more medications that you need to take. While taking your medication as instructed is important, the side effects could cause a fall. Many medicines cause symptoms such as dizziness and high blood pressure.
It doesn’t help that many times you’ll be taking multiple pills at once. While these drug interactions won’t kill you, they could increase the symptoms above which ups your chances for a fall.
If you feel like you’re having bad reactions to your medications, talk to your doctor right away. They can either help you change up your pill-taking routine or prescribe you different ones.
4. Chronic Diseases
Causes of falling that you can’t really control are ones that come from chronic diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and arthritis. They cause in weakness in your limbs so you can’t grip onto something if you feel yourself losing your balance.
If you have one of these disorders then it will be harder for you to recover after a fall than those who don’t have them. Your best bet for keeping yourself safe is to move into an assisted living home or with a family member.
5. Surgical Procedures
There are certain surgical procedures like hip replacements that cause you to feel a lot of pain and discomfort. This will make you less mobile and increase your chances of falling.
The effects of the surgery could be temporary so it’s possible for you to live with a family member until you heal. If the discomfort doesn’t go away then you may need to live with said loved one permanently.
6. Environmental Hazards
Perhaps the easiest way of preventing senior falls is to do a few updates in the home. Many falls happen because of little environmental factors such as loose carpet, bad lighting, clutter that is hard to clean up, slick floors, and not having the proper safety equipment in place.
If you have a lot of clutter in your home that you can’t clean, ask a family member to come over and clean for you and change any flickering lights. There is nothing wrong with asking for help to keep your home a safe place.
7. Behavioral Hazards
On top of the environmental hazards, there are also behavioral hazards. This mainly boils down to stubbornness. You see, once you get older you’ll need to make some changes to your routine that measures up to your abilities.
For example, there are many household chores that you may not be able to do any more such as carrying a heavy laundry basket. It could be harder for you to go up and down the stairs.
There is the possibility that you can still do some of these things if you take the appropriate precautions such as wearing skid-proof footwear to keep you steady. If this doesn’t work though, you may need to move out of your home to live with a family member.
You could be in peak physical health with perfect eyesight and a fall could still sneak up on you. We call these surprise falls triggers because they are caused by a random event.
You could be walking your dog and they see a squirrel and pull you down to try and get to it. You could accidentally let your blood sugar get down too low which will cause you to get dizzy and fall if you have diabetes. These falls are, for the most part, are out of your control.
All you can do is make sure you are always paying attention. If you notice the squirrel first, try and take your dog in a different direction and always keep track of your blood sugar.
Causes of Falls in the Elderly and How to Keep Yourself Safe
As a senior, your risk of falling goes up due to physical, environmental, behavioral, and medical factors. There are some risk factors that you can’t control but, if you use this guide then you’ll be able to prevent causes of falls in the elderly that you can control. Keep yourself safe.
Falls isn’t the only health-related thing you’ll need to worry about when you get older. Check out the health section of our blog for more tips like these.