Falling is not a normal part of aging yet injures so many seniors each year. Here are a tips for fall prevention in the elderly.
Falls are the number one cause of geriatric trauma. From hip to head injuries, falls can disrupt life and build fear. Each year, 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
But, here’s the deal. Falling is not a normal part of aging. That myth perpetuates a vicious cycle of fear and then, less activity, which can actually lead to a fall, and then, lead to more fear.
More than one out of four people fall each year and fewer than half tell their doctors about it, according to the CDC. Even with no injury, these people may become fearful and therefore, less active.
Breaking the cycle might start with understanding that curtailing activity and staying home doesn’t help prevent falls. Most falls happen in the home. Physical activity is a crucial part of fall prevention for seniors. Activities such as strength and balance exercises are highly recommended to improve balance.
Stronger muscles can make everyday things such as getting up from a chair or playing with grandchildren easier. Lower-body exercises help improve balance.
Also, getting regular vision exams and talking with a doctor about medications and their side effects are both good ideas. In the home, good lighting and fall-proofing are important.
Take time to take a self-survey of your home, or the home of a senior in your family. Make sure there’s no clutter in walkways or scatter rugs. Add grab bars in the tub, and check the lighting at the top and bottom of stairs.
Some people may dislike the idea of walking aids, but they can aid independence.
Fall prevention aids like nightlights can make a big difference in the home. Fall prevention should be a family endeavor. Even decorating a walker for a family member makes a difference.
For help in regaining strength after injury, illness or stroke – or for help in establishing better balance – please contact KVH Physical therapy at the new Klickitat Valley Health Wellness and Therapy Center. Call 509.773.1025 or visit us online at kvhealth.net