Fall Prevention For the older adult

Lets talk about falling

This page is designed to help YOU prevent falling to keep you safe, healthy, and happy!

Health People 2020 objective number 5 is to "reduce the proportion of older adults who have moderate to severe functional limitations." Falling can lead to serious injury and result in severe functional limitations.

"Falls, the leading cause of injury among older adults, are treated in emergency departments every 13 seconds and claim a life every 20 minutes. Every year, 1 out of 3 older adults fall, yet less than half tell their doctor." -Healthy People 2020

Are you at risks for falls?

You may be more likely to fall if you:

  • Have fallen in the past year
  • Have a health condition that makes it hard to walk or affects your balance, like diabetes or heart disease
  • Have trouble walking, getting up from a chair, or stepping up onto a curb
  • Take many different medicines, especially medicines to help you relax or sleep
  • Have trouble seeing or have a vision problem like cataracts or glaucoma
  • Your home is not set up for fall prevention (see below)

Fill out this checklist and see if your home is safe from falls!

Unintentional injury, which most often results from falls, is the sixth leading cause of death in people age 65 and older

Falls lead to injury and loss of independence!

This means less time spent outside the house, enjoying life!

Quality of life decreases, and inactivity due to injuries from falls can lead to other health problems, such as pneumonia, muscle loss, and skin breakdown

Falls are not a normal part of aging, and they can be prevented!

Causes of falls in the older population: visual field shrinks, hurrying, slipping, tripping, "reduced clearance height of the recovery foot during the swing phase of walking."

Simple tips to help you prevent falls:

Don't rush! Hurrying can lead to missteps and cause falls

Look where your going! Watch out for steps and small furniture like trashcans

Keep clutter away! Clutter blocks pathways and can cause tripping

Keep a light on/night light! This will help you when you need to get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night

What else can you do?

YOU CAN DO IT!

Maintain an active lifestyle (modified for you) to keep strength up and prevent weakness

Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking, and ask if any side effects could cause falls.
See your doctor about any foot problems or weakness
Getting regular eye check ups can help you become aware of changes in vision that could cause falling

Modify your home to fit the criteria in the checklist at the beginning!

Community helps!

Going to the local YMCA or community exercise programs can help increase muscle strength, balance, and coordination, which will lower risk of falling related to muscle weakness or balance and gait problems.

Go on walks with friends to strengthen muscles, stay social, and keep quality of life up!

Sources

Berg, W. P., Alessio, H. M., Mills, E. M., & Tong, C. (1997). Circumstances and consequences of falls in independent community-dwelling older adults. Age and Ageing, 26(4), 261-268. doi:10.1093/ageing/26.4.261

Lee, A., Lee, K., & Khang, P. (2013). Preventing Falls in the Geriatric Population. Retrieved March 05, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3854807/

Lower Your Risk of Falling. (n.d.). Retrieved March 05, 2017, from https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/lower-your-risk-of-falling#the-basics_2

Older Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved March 05, 2017, from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/older-adults

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