Taking Steps to Prevent Senior Falls

One out of every four senior citizens will fall this year. And the consequences of that fall can be quite serious: the most common way for an older person to lose the ability to live independently is through a fall.

Want to know how bad the situation is? Just consider the numbers:

  • Falls are the #1 cause of fatal injuries in senior citizens
  • Falls are the #1 cause of nonfatal injury-related hospital admissions in seniors
  • 25% of seniors fall each year
  • 20% of senior falls cause a serious injury, such as a head injury or a broken bone
  • If a senior has already fallen once, they are 3 times more likely to fall again within 12 months
  • A senior is brought to an emergency room every 11 seconds due to a fall
  • Every 19 minutes a senior dies due to a fall
  • 3,000,000 seniors are treated for fall-related injuries in emergency rooms each year
  • 850,000 seniors are admitted to hospitals each year due to falls
  • 29,000 seniors die each year from falls and complications from falls

 

Risk Factors for Senior Falls

Falling is associated with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, dementia, and low blood pressure.

In addition, seniors with chronic health problems are more likely to take multiple medications. These medications — especially in combination — can increase dizziness, vision problems, and confusion, all of which also increase the likelihood of a fall.

As people get older, they tend to reduce their activity level. By doing so, they also reduce their muscle strength, making them more vulnerable to falls.

 

Fall Prevention

Senior falls are not inevitable. The following tips help lower the risk of falling.

  1. Exercise Seniors should participate in appropriate exercise to increase muscle strength and improve balance.
  2. Medication Management Healthcare providers should review medications prescribed to seniors with an eye toward reducing fall risk.
  3. Vision Management Seniors should have annual eye exams — and always wear glasses with a current prescription.
  4. Home Management Most falls occur in the home, so it is important to make sure the environment is clutter-free, well lit, and offers easy access to commonly used items.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) provides this checklist of ways to “fall-proof” a senior’s home.

In short, falls are dangerous but they are also avoidable. Taking the right steps to address fall risks will increase both the length and quality of a senior’s life.

 

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, our care programs are designed specifically to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients, including fall prevention. We emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.

We foster an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life.

Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.

We carefully select, train and re-train our wonderful caregivers, who are especially sensitive to the needs of our long-term care patients. They treat residents with love, compassion, and dignity.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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