Falls are among the biggest risks that seniors face in their daily lives. In fact, the National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for American senior citizens, and one in four Americans aged 65 or older falls every year.
Because falls are common among seniors, many older Americans and their family members may believe that they are an inevitable part of aging. However, the risks of slips and falls can be reduced and even eliminated with a few proactive steps around the home and by being aware of the primary risk factors.
3 Common Causes of Slips and Falls
The first step toward addressing the problem is knowing its causes. Three common causes of slips and falls among seniors and their solutions include:
- Health issues – As people age, their likelihood of developing chronic health problems increases. Conditions like diabetes, strokes, or arthritis can result in disability and difficulty walking. Certain medications can also make falls more likely, especially if they cause drowsiness, dizziness, or muscular weakness.
Solution – Make sure your loved one follows all his or her doctor’s orders and is compliant with prescription medication regimens, physical rehabilitation schedules, and daily exercise. Canes, walkers, and wheelchairs also may be necessary for some seniors who are unsteady or prone to falling due to physical ailments.
- Worsening vision – Having clear and unobstructed vision is essential for avoiding slips and falls. Both up-close and far-away vision can rapidly deteriorate during the aging process, making it difficult for older adults to see where they’re going or what obstacles are in their way.
Solution – Schedule regular eye exams for your loved one and consider the type of eyewear he or she wears. Glasses that change tint based on lighting can be dangerous indoors, as they don’t always lighten right away when entering buildings.
- Environmental hazards – Although we like to think of our homes as being safe sanctuaries where we can relax and unwind, they often contain many dangers that aren’t always obvious—especially for seniors. Slippery and difficulty to enter baths and showers pose serious risks, as do steep stairs, loose rugs, and uneven flooring.
Solution – Do a walkthrough of your loved one’s home and look for risk factors for slips and falls. Remove or secure rugs and replace carpeting or flooring that’s uneven or loose. Place mats inside showers and bath tubs to improve grip and install rails to help your loved one enter and exit.
Other inexpensive and effective solutions include adding lighting and higher wattage bulbs throughout your loved one’s home to improve visibility, changing medications or reducing dosages, and buying better-fitting and more stable footwear to wear both inside the home and in public places.
Worried About Potential Slips and Falls? Call Seniors Helping Seniors.®
Although reducing or preventing falls in seniors involves many practical steps, it can also involve difficult conversations—especially if your loved one feels that his or her independence and pride are threatened by changes in daily routines or surroundings. Similarly, when older people are worried about falling, they are likely to reduce their movement and go out less often, which can lead to social isolation and increased physical weakness. Help your loved one stay strong, healthy and independent with the help of Seniors Helping Seniors.
Whether your loved one needs a little extra help around the house, or assistance running errands, we’re here to help. Call us today at (954) 202-5200 or fill out our online form for more information.