According to the CDC, falls are a serious concern for people of all ages, and especially for older adults. Each year, over 3 million seniors fall in some capacity, and more than 800,000 require hospitalization as a result. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and each year, more than one in four seniors experiences a fall of some kind. Worse still, falling once doubles your chances of falling again. It’s a serious issue that flies mostly under the radar for many people; in fact, many seniors don’t even tell their doctors about their fall.
But what is it that causes falls? Unfortunately, a lot of things. There’s actually no single reason why people fall. In most cases it can be a combination of a few potential issues. However, many falls happen because of things like:
• Blood pressure issues
• Issues with feet
• Problems with clothing or footwear
• Medication side effects
• Overly sedentary lifestyle
• Muscle fatigue or deterioration from lack of use
• Safety issues in a room, such as uneven flooring or tripping hazards
• Poor ground or floor conditions, such as ice or moisture
In life there are tons of things just waiting to trip us up. Because of that, falling is a very real danger.
However, falling isn’t some fact of life that requires acceptance. It might be a fact of life that the dangers are present, but thankfully there’s a variety of things you can do to put yourself on better footing to deal with falls.
Something as simple as removing a rug that likes to trip you up or paying attention to areas where you're walking so you don't trip over things can help reduce falls. Some other fall prevention tips include:
• Talking to doctor about your medications
• Making sure your diet is in order
• Making sure your clothing is properly fitted
• Moving more
• Performing calisthenics
Each of these individually can work wonders in reducing your general risk for falls. But if you combine a few, or even all, of them as a general program for fall prevention, you’re really setting yourself up for success.
Many medications can have side effects that contribute to falls. From impacting vision to causing dizziness or low blood pressure, it’s important to be aware of exactly what your prescriptions might do. Even if you’ve never experienced side effects, knowing they're possible can go a long way to avoiding them. Speak with your doctor about potential side effects to understand the risks and find out what they suggest you do to combat these problems.
Certain foods can cause body reactions that impact fall risk. An insulin spike or drop due to eating, for example, might contribute to faintness or dizziness that causes a fall. The staff at Collinwood assisted living community is more than happy to support residents in achieving a healthy diet that limits issues like falls or negative impacts to health.
This one is one of the easiest things to fix. Ill-fitting clothing and shoes that are too loose, come untied easily or are too worn can contribute to falls. They can also limit your mobility. Take a look at your closet and see what you can replace or have altered to fit better and your mobility will thank you for it.
As the old saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss. That sentiment holds true for your ability to move without falling because in order to make sure you can move well, you have to actually move around. This doesn’t mean you have to start hitting the gym or taking up distance running. It just means finding more times to walk around throughout the day. Taking an evening stroll after dinner, standing up periodically when reading or setting an alarm to ensure you get up and walk a bit each hour are all potential ideas. You don’t have to move constantly — just find ways to move more.
You wouldn’t begin a strenuous physical activity like exercise or moving furniture without a warmup of some kind, so why not take the time to prep your body for movement throughout the day? Performing a series of small calisthenics when you first wake up each morning can be helpful for overall health. You’re warming up your muscles and joints to get them ready to move, which decreases the likelihood that you’ll fall. Plus, it can help you get the blood flowing and wake up faster, allowing you to enjoy that coffee in the morning more since you’re not using it to wake up.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help with things. Especially if that help allows you to move better on your own. There are plenty of devices to choose from, and using them in certain conditions can help rest your body enough so that you can move around easier at other times without them.
Falls are a serious problem at any age, but especially for seniors. Part of coming to an assisted living community is to gain assistance to live your life more fully, and a fall can jeopardize that. Nobody likes to think about these scenarios, but if you take the time to talk to your doctor and try some of these steps to decrease your risk, you can worry even less about them.