Helping Prevent Injury-Causing Falls Among the Elderly
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 4 adults aged 65 and over fall each year. Falls cause over 90% of hip fractures in the elderly. Twenty percent of those suffering from a hip fracture die within one year of the injury. With advancing age, many senior adults experience joint pain due to arthritis and an overall decrease in muscle mass. Age-related medical conditions such as dementia, vision loss and heart disease can also cause dizziness and weakness that can result in falls.
What causes elderly people to fall?
1. Decline in physical fitness. Many seniors as they become older become less active. This results in weaker muscles, inflamed joints and less core strength needed for balance.
2. Environmental hazards. Environmental factors such as poor lighting, clutter, slick floors and a lack of proper safety features result in falls.
3. Mental decline. Whether naturally or as a side effect of medication, cognitive issues may lead to falls.
Top 4 Ways to Prevent Falls
1. Balance enhancing exercises. Some popular balance enhancing exercises that help to prevent falls include walking heel-to-toe and the one-legged stand. Other helpful, balance-building fitness routines include Tai Chi, chair yoga and water aerobics.
2. Removing clutter. As previously mentioned, improving the safety features of one's living space has tremendous potential to prevent injury-causing falls.
3. Precautions with Medications. Take proper precautions with medications by discussing side effects with physicians, ensuring the patient is on the correct dosage and/or eliminating medications that are not necessary.
4. Wearable technology. “Smart Garments” designed to prevent falls as well as cushion falls are cutting-edge new technology that will improve the statistics mentioned earlier. Special undergarment briefs detect a fall in progress via motion sensors and respond by inflating a set of micro air bags designed to cushion the hip on impact.
Understanding how older individuals are at an increased risk for falling can help family caregivers take the proper precautions to keep their loved ones safe. At Stouffer Legal, we care about our seniors. For more information on our Elder Law or Estate Planning services please call our office today.