1 in 4 Seniors Fall Each Year: Facts About Falling

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As you age, the possibility of sustaining grave injuries from a fall unfortunately increases. While most seniors are understandably concerned about the prospect of falling, many causes of falls are preventable.

People in the 65+ range are the most at risk due to factors like declining health, diminished eyesight, and weakened bones. Falling not only affects the body, but it also changes the mind because many seniors who experience a fall become reclusive and depressed. It is important to know the latest facts about falling in order to learn how to reduce your fall risk.

Facts & Statistics About Falling

These statistics are not a death sentence, but they represent how common falling is within the older population. This is why it is so important to take steps to prevent falls.

     You are 1.14 times more likely to fall if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

     Chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease increase the likelihood of falling.

     Every 19 minutes an elder person dies from a fall.

     25% of falls resulting in a hip fracture lead to death within six months.

     Malnutrition and low body weight is a significant risk factor for falling due to lessened strength and loss of bone mass.

     Some medications for depression, sleep aids, and even blood pressure can cause dehydration and dizziness increasing the risk of falling.  

Why Are Seniors So At Risk to Falling?

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Most seniors are at risk of falling because there is a decline in their ability to maintain their balance. Typically, a senior’s awareness of how their body moves and feels declines due to a lack of physical exercise or chronic conditions, such as arthritis that results in pain.

If an individual is taking multiple medications, the potential for adverse effects can disrupt their vision and cognitive functions. On average, a decline in vision is the most likely cause. 

How to Help the Elderly Reduce Their Risk of Falling

Here are some steps for seniors to take to keep as agile as possible to avoid spills.

  • Exercise: This might be rehashing old news, but moving is a senior’s best friend. Aerobics, resistance training, and balance exercises that include core work offer a host of benefits.

    Exercise keeps strength up, improves balance, and maintains bone mass. It can also reduce the need for medication and can improve one’s overall mood.
  • Light the House: Night lights in crucial places will help with those late night visits to the loo. Light the hallways, the bathrooms and the bedroom to prevent falls in the dark. Using brighter and full spectrum lights will help to reduce any glare. 
  • Secure the Floors: Repair all the loose stairs and floorboards. Secure the carpets and rugs with slip-resistant backing. Placing non-slip mats for the bathtubs is a good practice as well.
  • Wear Proper Shoes: They may not be the sexiest shoes, but orthopedic slip-resistant shoes are a valuable accessory. Secure footing is one of the best preventative measures to take to avoid falls.

    Purchase shoes with the proper support for the Achilles heel and ankles. Wider shoes will provide more stability and comfort. Look for shoes that have nice padding in them. Your feet will thank you.
  • Enlist Your Doctor: Everyone ages differently so enlisting your doctor’s advice is key. They are knowledgeable and can help you devise a focused plan to reduce your fall risk.

    When speaking to your doctor, make sure to discuss medication side effects that can potentially alter motor functions. Discuss with your healthcare provider any changes or concerns you may have with your body. They are there to give you specific recommendations to keep you healthy, strong, and less at risk of falls.

Protect Yourself

Take the necessary precautions, such as adopting a medical alert system. It’ll help prevent any potential situations that could lead to a serious injury-causing fall and extend the quality of life.

Call us today at 1-866-581-4540 to get peace of mind with Alert1



About the author

Since 1998, Visiting Angels has been providing in-home elder care services to families across the United States and is committed to helping loved ones continue to live at home.