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Why Do Seniors Fall and What Can You Do to Help Prevent It?      

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Elderly Falling

Victoria Landing Assisted Living and Memory Care in Melbourne, FL among other elder care experts such as the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Florida Department of Health, and the National Institute on Aging, weigh in on this important family concern.

The statistics can be grim, but they are real and necessary to demonstrate significant steps Florida seniors and caregivers can take to reduce a devastating one-time fall and, repeated missteps leading to multiple falls.  The National Institute of Health says, “If you or an older person you know has fallen, you’re not alone. More than one in three people aged 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, in 2019, 3,013 older adults were fatally injured in a fall.  In addition to tragic deaths and injuries, as well as the costs associated, falls can have many negative consequences for older adults, including:

  • Fear of falling again
  • Forced relocation from the home
  • Loss of independence
  • Stress in the family

Seniors fall due to biological, behavioral, and environmental risk factors such as:

  • A previous fall or a mind-encompassing fear of falling
  • Chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, arthritis, stroke)
  • Conditions in the home (e.g., slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor, poor lighting)
  • Medicines (including interaction effects)
  • Mobility problems (e.g., muscle weakness, balance)
  • Poor nutrition (leading to weakness, dizziness, fainting)
  • Poor vision, hearing, mental confusion

6 Tips to reducing falls to help older adults lead a quality life:

  • Exercising regularly especially with leg strengthening and improving balance.
    • Do not let fear of falling prevent your senior from undertaking physically appropriate activity.  For example, quality senior assisted living and memory care communities offer 24-hour emergency assistance if needed, not just in case of a fall, but in prevention of falls. Convenient onsite supervised walks, aquatic activities, and fitness exercises promote safe movement, strengthening, and endurance.
  • Undertake regular doctor checks for vision, hearing, reflexes, cognitive status, balance issues, or underlying illnesses to identify weaknesses.
    • If you are a caregiver, it can be difficult getting your loved one to the doctor.  This can mean going to several doctors for a bunch of “just-in-case” check ups which your family member wants very little to do with, especially those with memory or physical limitations.  Often the regular medical oversight and nursing services provided inhouse at assisted living facilities provide a convenience for the resident and peace of mind for the caregiver.
  • Making their home environment and clothing safer.  Pay close attention to trip hazards such as insecure door mats and uneven flooring thresholds and small or large steps.  No-grip shoes, improper fit or difficult to fasten clothing, and forgetfulness related to their use of a cane, walker, or scooter can present risk of falling.
  • Regularly review their medicines with a doctor or pharmacist.
    • Interactions or side effects of prescribed medications can lead to unintended imbalance, confusion, low blood pressure, and possible hallucination issues.
  • Whether they are hurt or not, encourage your loved one to (or do so yourself) inform their doctor of any previous falls, and any new or ongoing balance, lightheadedness, dizziness, and cognitive concerns.
  • Maintain a healthy diet inclusive of moderate amounts of Vitamin D and Calcium to prevent or minimize bone weakness.  Regularly check your weight as both underweight and overweight individuals may be a risk of falls.

While some senior falls are simply just accidents, many can be preventable, with just a few of the measures listed above.  As a caregiver, if you are truly concerned about the vulnerability of your parent, spouse, or grandparent falling, consider a proven senior assisted living community to offer you peace of mind that your loved one will be attended to 24/7.

At Victoria Landing Assisted Living and Memory Care, our seniors receive that extra special attention needed from our professional and compassionate staff.  Visit us on the serene banks of the Indian River where you will find special incentives to help your loved ones fulfill a secure, physical, and mental wellness lifestyle with dignity, grace, and reverence.  Call us today for a tour and to customize the perfect “Aging in Place” experience for your beloved family member.

 

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