The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than for men. Two-thirds
of those who experience a fall will fall again within six months. A decrease in bone density contributes to falls and resultant injuries. Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and loss of bone mass and flexibility.
At least one-third of all falls in the elderly involve environmental hazards in the home (K.R. Tremblay Jr., and C.E. Barber1 (12/05). With those alarming facts it is important that we take the time to learn proper ways to prevent falls among the elderly,
whether it is yourself or someone you take care of. Most risk factors of falling are preventable by being aware of the risks and knowing some strategies to decrease your own risk.
- Work on strength. As you age, your muscles and bones begin to weaken.
Continue to stay active and work on simple and complex motor skills. Take your time doing things you are unfamiliar with. Also, make sure you are getting enough vitamin D for your bones.
- Follow all medication directions. Many medications may make you drowsy or unable to process thoughts easily. Understand the medications you are on and how they make you feel. Do not put yourself in dangerous situations such as driving when taking certain medications.
- Check your eyesight. Make sure you are wearing glasses especially the proper strength. Continue to have frequent eye checkups for diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. If you already are aware of a vision problem, use color and contrast around the house.
- Be aware of environmental hazards. Most falls happen by tripping over objects in your home. Keeping your house safe for you and others that may frequent can easily prevent this. Some things you can do is repair cracks, install handrails, keep small areas, such as hallways clear of clutter, and make sure you have adequate lighting throughout your house.
Falls are the leading cause of death from injury in adults 65 years of age and older. This is not something that should ever be taken lightly. As we age, it is easy to dismiss the common risks for falling by believing we do not fit into these categories. However, being aware of the risks will only give you the opportunity to feel younger longer. It is much more difficult to bounce back from an injury as you age then to do what is needed to prevent a fall.