The natural progression of aging put seniors at a higher risk of falling. The good news is that many falls can be prevented. Falls can happen when getting out of bed, when walking across a room, or even when simply reaching for something on a high shelf. Fall prevention is especially critical in the fall and winter months when bad weather can make mobility more of a challenge. According to the CDC, falls rank as a leading cause of death among aging adults all year round.
What Increases the Risk of Falls?
While many falls are accidental, some are due to risk factors that can be prevented. Some common risk factors for falls include:
- Vitamin D insufficiency
- Medications that cause dizziness or disorientation
- Poor vision or hearing
- Environmental hazards in the home
- Balance problems or muscle weakness
How to Reduce the Risk of Falling
Here are five ways you can prevent yourself or a loved one from suffering from the dangerous effects that often result from falling:
Stay physically active
Balance exercises help to keep the body strong and steady. This is especially important as we get older and are at a higher risk of falling. These simple exercises improve our balance and coordination, which can help us stay upright and decrease our risk of falling. These exercises are easy to learn and can be done anywhere, anytime. They include things like standing on one foot, balancing on a ball, or walking heel-to-toe.
Home safety assessment and modification
Remove any hazards from your home that could cause you to trip or fall, such as scatter rugs and loose cords. There are many hazards in the average household that can increase the risk of falling. Tripping over objects such as toys or rugs, stepping on a slippery surface such as a freshly cleaned floor, and reaching for something that is out of reach are all common ways people fall in the home. Additionally, many homes have stairs which can be dangerous if someone is not paying attention. Poor lighting can also be a hazard, as can clutter which can make it difficult to see where you are going.
Certain medications can increase the risk of falls because they can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness. Ask your physician which medications might be contributing to feeling dizzy or falling.
Dehydration can lead to a decrease in blood volume, which can lead to a decline in cognitive function and an increase in the risk of falls. When blood volume decreases, the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure declines, which can lead to lightheadedness and dizziness. These symptoms can increase the risk of falls, as can changes in balance and coordination that can occur as a result of dehydration.
Call Mission Healthcare to keep you safe at home
Our home health experts are trained to help patients reduce falls and maintain their independence at home. Our team is here to help you or your loved one improve balance and strength to help prevent falls and increase confidence and mobility. We will also check your home for anything that could put you or others at risk for a fall.
Our goals are to help you:
- Understand your fall risk
- Improve your quality of life
- Avoid preventable falls
- Remain safely in your home with as much independence as possible
- Reduce expensive hospitalizations
If you or a loved one has fallen in the past year or feels unsteady when walking, let Mission Healthcare help you navigate through all the options available to you. We are here to help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.