Are you or someone you love at risk of falling? Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors. The reasons are easy to understand: as you get older, physical changes and health conditions – sometimes including the medications used to treat those conditions – make falls more likely.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, each year one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls, and 2 million are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Falls don’t just happen. Often, one or more underlying causes or risk factors are involved, including medical conditions, physical activity, weather or home safety hazards. Here are some common factors that may lead to an increased risk of falling:
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bowel/bladder control
- Stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and/or lung disease
- Balance problems
- Numbness/pain in hands and feet
- Prescription and over-the counter medication side effects and interactions
Home may be where the heart is but it’s also the place where most falls occur. Thankfully, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many falls can be prevented. Everyone can take actions to protect older adults they care about. We recommend scheduling a professional home safety assessment as a first step towards fall prevention at home.