Fall Prevention and Risk Factors

As we age, our bodies go through many changes that we must constantly adjust to in order to continue to remain active, independent individuals. Being educated and prepared for life’s changes can help us avoid common pitfalls. Obvious things such as changes in eyesight or hearing, sends us to our doctors to seek corrective measures.
Unfortunately, many times there are changes that are quite subtle, that often go unnoticed, and can lead to serious consequences. Things such as loss of balance, delayed reflexes, and blood pressure fluctuations often go unnoticed. “One of the most dangerous situations affecting our seniors are… falls. Look at a few of these statistics.

  • Falls in the 70 and over age group are more common than cancer and strokes.
  • 30% of seniors over age 70 will have multiple falls, resulting in injury.
  • 10% will suffer serious injury from a fall, such as a fractured hip, neck, or brain trauma.
  • 90% of hip fractures result from a fall.

Falls are also very preventable! The first goal in preventing falls is to take inventory of your risk factors, and understand when you are at greatest risk. Then by taking some corrective measures, your risk of falling can be lowered significantly so that you can continue to live a happy independent, injury free life. So here are some things to consider as you evaluate your risk factors.

  • Assess your home environment for trip hazards, have a friend help you. Look for loose fitting shoes, electrical cords, carpets, and furniture that could be trip hazards, and clear your walkways.
  • Take inventory of your medical conditions ie blood pressure medications, steroid use, or diseases that affect your balance and make adjustments. Change positions more slowly to prevent dizziness if you take blood pressure meds.
  • If you are a diabetic, or have decreases sensation to your legs, talk to your doctor about therapy or assistive devices.
  • Eat foods and exercise to promote healthy strong bones. Calcium rich foods like milk, yogurt, almonds and green vegetables should be part of your diet. Exercise such as walking or swimming help strengthen our bones and improve our balance.

In summary, many changes affect our bodies as we age. Understanding these changes, and taking preventative measures before issues arise, can help us continue to live productive, independent lives. Take inventory of your home, and your health and make choices to prevent falls.
Article provided by: Robert Estrada, RN
Sweet Bye N Bye Inc