Reducing the rate of emergency department visits due to falls among older adults Ellie Adkins

How much do you know about falls and fall prevention?

  1. Medication can be a cause of falls in older adults. TRUE OR FALSE
  2. Falls can be prevented. TRUE OR FALSE
  3. Regular vision check ups can help prevent falls TRUE OR FALSE
  4. I feel confident in my knowledge to prevent falls TRUE OR FALSE

Did you know that one in three older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.

Falls can result in: hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. Falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented! Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:

Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause side effects such as dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to falls

Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina which makes contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.

Balance and gait: As we age, its common to lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance this can be do primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.

Environment: Most older adults have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age. Or when a change of environment occurs the new environment can present as a challenge to navigate.

Chronic conditions: Many older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often times, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or medications.

Ways to Prevent Falls Before They Happen

Preventing falls can keep you independent!

  1. Talk about medication: Using medication incorrectly or two medications that interact with each other can cause falls. Other medications can have side effects such as dizziness that can be the cause of falls as well. Its important to keep track of medications and discuss them with your health care provider and support persons.
  2. Safety Assessment of your home: Make sure lighting is adequate, rugs are secured, side rails are present on stairs, make sure cords are out of the walkways, and ensure that bathrooms have handle bars for toilet and showering access if needed.
  3. Regular Vision Check Ups: Its important that vision is appropriate and prescription glasses or lenses are correct.
  4. Diet: A healthy diet and staying hydrated can prevent dizziness and falls.

Resources for you

Here is a video on some safety tips for your home to keep you from falling!

  1. Medication can be a cause of falls in older adults. TRUE OR FALSE
  2. Falls can not be prevented. TRUE OR FALSE
  3. Regular vision check ups can help prevent falls TRUE OR FALSE
  4. I feel confident in my knowledge to prevent falls TRUE OR FALSE

Answers: 1. True, 2. False, 3. True, 4. True

Credits:

Created with images by Presidencia de la República Mexicana - "Inauguración del Hospital Municipal de Chiconcuac" • e-MagineArt.com - "Pills 3" • Fillmore Photography - "Glasses" • Jason Pratt - "House"

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