The Shocking Truth: Top 3 Causes of Senior Falls Revealed

Thousands of people slip and fall every year. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors. Every 11 seconds, a senior is admitted to an emergency room for a fall related injury. Every 19 minutes a senior dies from a fall related injury.

Falls not only threaten senior safety and independence, but they also create economic and personal burdens. Due to their severity, falls should be prevented as much as possible.

As you age, you become more prone to falls, but this doesn’t mean that they are an inevitable part of growing older. The more you know about what causes falls, the more prepared you’ll be to prevent them. At Alert1, it is our top priority to keep you safe as you age in place, which means to stay in your home as long as possible. Here are the top three causes of senior falls, and how to combat these issues:

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An Aging Body Leads to Senior Falls

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Your body isn’t the same as it used to be. As you grow older, it is normal for you to become weaker, making you more susceptible to falls. Here are some of the normal outcomes of aging that increase your risk for falls:

  • Muscle weakness causes you to fall. As you age, your decreasing muscle strength becomes a bigger issue. Muscle weakness is tied to an increase in falls. Maintain your muscle strength with exercise and physical activity. Even light forms of exercise keeps your body strong and makes all the difference in avoiding a fall.
  • Poor balance makes you unsteady and more prone to falls. In your golden years, it is natural for the bodies’ reflexes to slow down. You may not be able to catch your balance if you start to fall. Lack of exercise leads to loss of balance and slower reflexes, so it’s important to keep up with weekly physical activity. Activities with a focus on balance, like Tai Chi and yoga, improves reflexes and decreases the risk of falls.
  • High blood pressure can cause dizziness that leads to falls. With high blood pressure, it’s common to feel dizzy when getting up fast after lying or sitting down. Avoid sudden dizziness by always getting up slowly from a seated or lying position, and standing for a bit. This lets your blood pressure adjust and prevents dizziness, fainting, and falls.

Not Having a Senior-Friendly Home Increases Falls

non slip stairs

Certain areas of your home are notorious for causing falls. The best preventative measure is to make your home safe with a few simple modifications. Here’s why you should focus on these areas when making your home senior friendly:

  • The bathroom is the most dangerous room in your home for slips and falls. Improper footing when entering the shower combined with a slippery floor can cause falls. Install grab bars in and out of the shower to ensure you always have something to hold onto. Place non-slip mats on the floor so that you can step safely without slipping.
  • Steps and stairs are easy to slip and fall on. As you age, steps and stairs become more difficult to go up and down. To prevent falls from stairs, ensure that you have secure hand railings to hold when using the stairs. Install non-skid treads on the steps to further eliminate the chance of a fall.
  • Poor lighting inside and outside your home can increase your risk of falls. Make sure you have proper lighting in rooms, entrances, and outdoor walkways. The more visible your path is, the less likely you will trip and fall. Install nightlights indoors and motion sensor lights outdoors. This will ensure you always have an illuminated path at night.
  • Too much clutter around the house can cause a fall. Clutter around the house creates tripping hazards. Remove clutter in your home like clothes, cords, and throw rugs. Doing so will decrease the chance of a fall, and ensure a safer home for you to age in place.

Prescription Drugs and Side Effects Cause Falls

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If you feel like any of your prescription drugs are giving you any adverse side effects, inform your doctor about it immediately. Although medications help with your medical conditions, their side effects are one of the three main causes of falls. Certain types of prescription drugs can make you more prone to falling because: 

  • Prescription drugs have side effects that cause dizziness and affect balance. Seizure and painkiller medications cause dizziness and affect the central nervous system. This makes users less alert and slower to react if they feel dizzy. High blood pressure, diabetes, and heart medications are linked to dizziness as well.
  • Over the counter drugs should never be mixed with prescription drugs. OTC drugs increase the risk of falling just as much as prescription drugs do. When you are on prescription drugs, mixing them with OTC drugs is unsafe. Doing so causes adverse effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and becoming unconscious. Although Alert1’s fall detection system will sense a fall if you are unconscious, avoid the risk by never mixing OTC and prescription drugs.
  • Taking too many medications increases your risk for falls. If you are on four or more medications, you have a higher risk of falling. To decrease the risk of a medicine-induced fall, conduct a “brown bag checkup.” Gather all current prescription and OTC medications, and bring them to your doctor or pharmacist. They will review the medications and inform you of any potential complications that might arise from using them. 

Age in Place Fall-Free

Falls threaten your safety and can lead to severe injuries, lengthy hospital stays, and a loss of independence. The first step towards aging in place is to understand what dangers you may face on a regular basis.

Now that you are more aware of what causes falls, you will be prepared to prevent them. If you do fall and need help, remember that your Alert1 medical system is always there to bring you the help you need.

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