Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for Older Americans. They threaten elder safety, diminish independence, and generate enormous financial and personal costs for impacted seniors and their families. They can, however, often be prevented when we plan forward.
Did you know one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate elder falls is to identify contributing factors and take preventative actions?
Let us share five significant factors every elder adult and his or her loved ones should be aware of here in our blog.
- Previous Falls. Perhaps the strongest indication of a future fall, is whether a senior adult has fallen at some point during the recent past. According to numerous studies, about half of elderly adults who reported falling during a 12-month period are likely to fall two to three more times. Previous falls can also increase fear and anxiety which can result in avoidance of physical activities and further put seniors at risk due to muscle atrophy.
- Health Conditions. Certain health conditions impact the lower legs and feet, and thereby elevate the risk of falling. Osteoporosis, arthritis, and diabetic neuropathy are a few examples. Other conditions, such as eye and ear disorders, can also increase falling risks.
- Poor Lighting. As eyesight and alertness decline in older age, it’s even more important to make sure one’s home is brightly lit to avoid tripping. Here are a few suggestions for your home or living space:
- Install illuminated light switches
- Turn on lights before going up or downstairs
- Place a lamp within reach of an elder adult’s bed for nighttime needs
- Put night lights throughout the home
- “Polypharmacy”. Put simply, polypharmacy is the consumption of multiple, overlapping medications. This can include any combination of prescription or over-the-counter medicines, and often involves side effects that contribute to falls.
- Environmental Hazards. There are a number of potential falling hazards Older Americans and their family members can address to improve safety, such as clutter inside their homes, unsecured mats and rugs, and slippery shower and bathtub basins. Outside environmental factors, however, like damaged flooring or slippery floors, may be the result of negligence by another person.
We know this can be a difficult topic to think about for yourself or to discuss with an aging parent. Know that we are your local law firm here to help you manage this issue as well as plan forward for the complications that can arise during the aging process. Do not hesitate to ask us your questions now, or in the future.