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Prevent Falls for Older Adults: 5 Proven Ways

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Last Updated on October 6, 2021 by ashley.davis

Introduction

The bad news for older adults is that falls are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The NCOA (National Council on Aging) reports that an older person is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds. Thus, it is really important to prevent falls for older adults.

Now the good news. With a thorough understanding of what causes falls, you can prevent yourself and your loved
ones from a fall. Nothing is 100% preventable but reducing the risk is the first place to start. 

Why Do Older Adults Fall? 

There are many reasons older adults fall and most of them are preventable. Let’s take a look at the reasons older adults, in particular, are more prone to falling. 

· Poor eyesight: Older people often have vision problems including muscular degeneration, glaucoma, or other less serious problems that still affect someone’s ability to see safely.

· Medication problems: Medications that are intended to treat medical conditions can also cause dizziness and or lightheartedness. Mixing certain medications can cause serious side effects that can affect balance.

· Foot issues: Neuropathy is a condition that can be caused by several medical problems, but diabetes is the most common. People with neuropathy report tingling or shooting nerve pain in their feet and legs. Others say that they have numbness in their feet which makes it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces.

· General weakness and loss of function: Over time, many older adults become weaker. They lose muscle mass, flexibility, strength, and endurance. Balance deteriorates as a result of inactivity.

· Poor hearing: At first glance, this may not seem like a risk for falling, but even mild hearing loss can increase the risk of falling. According to the American Speech Hearing and Language Association, the risk of a fall increases by 140 percent for every 10 decibels of hearing loss.

· Clutter in the home: Throw rugs, clutter, and electrical cords are safety hazards.

Caregiver sitting with senior man who is holding a stress ball

How to Prevent Falls for Older Adults

Falls can’t be stopped completely, but there are preventative measures that can dramatically reduce the risk. Moreover, these tips will contribute to a healthier happier life. 

· Make a doctor’s appointment: Ask for an evaluation of current medications. Request an eye and hearing test.  

· Exercise: For many older adults, this will be a new concept, but it is never too late to start. Begin by checking with health care providers to make sure there are no precautions. Consider physical therapy as a great way to focus on weakness and especially balance. Here some tips for improving your health.

· Clear the clutter: Take stock of the home environment and clear out throw rugs, eliminate clutter, and make sure there is adequate lighting throughout the home. 

· Grab bars and accessibility additions: Think about installing grab bars in the shower and ask your loved one about the possibility of a shower chair. Install railings inside and out where they are needed.  

· Footwear: Pumps and heels may look nice but they are not good for walking! Try and convince your loved one that sneakers are all the rage now for older adults and they have better grip and stability.


Take these steps to help prevent falls and improve health. For additional resources and information visit Boomershub.

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