Older Adults and Falls: What You Can Do to Prevent Them

The statistics surrounding falls among the elderly population in the United States are nothing short of eye-opening. While scare tactics are a lousy way to kick off a conversation, the fact is that falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling.

At our practice, Dr. Kirill Zhadovich and our team specialize in geriatric care, and one of our primary concerns are falls that lead to broken bones and worse. In an attempt to offset these injuries, we want to review a few key fall-prevention techniques here.

Behind the falls

Before we get into fall-prevention tips, it’s helpful to review why seniors are at much higher risk of falling. The most common reasons why this age group is more prone to falls that lead to injury, include:

  • Loss of balance and gait
  • Aging and weakened bones
  • Diminishing eyesight
  • Medications
  • Pre-existing health conditions

While there’s little we can do to prevent these age-related issues, there are ways we can help the elderly stay on their feet.

Education

One of the keys to fall prevention is making seniors more aware of the enormous risk. With aging comes an incredible amount of change, and sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up with ever-increasing medical issues, making prevention a luxury.

But given the numbers, fall prevention is one area worth investing some time and energy into, because the older you are, the less able you are to readily bounce back from injuries of these kinds.

A great resource to educate yourself on fall risk is the National Council on Aging, which has a dedicated information center for fall prevention.

On the homefront

Many of the falls among the elderly occur around the house, which is one area that you can more easily control. The best fall-prevention tips for the home include:

  • Installing grab bars and handrails in the bathtub and bathroom
  • Clearing away clutter
  • Removing area rugs that aren’t properly secured
  • Increasing the lighting
  • Creating more non-slip surfaces (think grippy mats on tile or wood floors)
  • Avoiding walking in socks in favor of shoes or slippers with better tread

If you can, try and take stairs out of the equation entirely by confining the home environment to one level.

Get help

Another great way to prevent falls is to enlist our help. We’re happy to sit down with you to come up with a tailored-to-you fall-prevention plan that may include:

  • Regular eye exams
  • Hearing exams
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Medication management

Ultimately, we review every area where there may be increased risk and recommend ways to offset these potential hazards.

To get started on a solid fall-prevention plan to protect yourself or a loved one, please contact our office in Niles, Illinois, to set up an appointment with Dr. Zhadovich or Dr. Kostiv.

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