Older Adults’ Guide to Prevent Falls
Falls become more and more common as one ages. While not all falls cause serious injuries, one fifth result in broken bones such as hip or head injuries. In fact, the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are falls.
A head injury could be even more serious for someone who takes certain medications like blood thinners. For those affected by a brain injury, many who survive will have lifelong disabilities that require on-going care including vocational rehabilitation and cognitive therapy. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, language, learning, emotions, behavior, and/or sensation. It can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.
RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH FALLS
Physical changes in the body
- Muscle weakness
- Gait problems
- Failing vision
- Losses in functions
Behavior changes that come with age
- Physical inactivity & decreased mobility
- Dizziness caused by multiple medications
- Drowsiness caused by medication
- Changes in interactions with others
- Chronic conditions such as depression
Hazards in the home or community
- Tripping hazards
- Uneven steps
- Structural issues such as broken sidewalks
- Poorly lit homes or premises
- Lack of handrails
FALL PREVENTION ACTION PLAN
1. Talk about it. Older adults should speak to their doctors or healthcare providers about the risks and preventative measures. Patients should feel open about their fears of falling, about any unsteadiness they’re experiencing while walking or standing, and what could help them feel more stable—such as a walker. Some questions to ask a physician or specialist:
- What should I do after I’ve fallen?
- Who should I call after a fall?
- Should I be using a cane or other aid?
- What daily habits could I practice to help with my balance?
- Could I have postural hypotension?
- Do I need physical therapy?
2. Stay active. Keeping an active lifestyle and practicing certain exercises help maintain balance and strengthen legs. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations of exercise programs which are most appropriate for you.
3. Don’t rush. Take your time when changing position, such as when you're getting up from a chair or bed. Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, increases your chance of falling.
4. See an eye doctor. Having regular vision screenings may detect any problems with eye deterioration and update your glasses prescriptions as needed.
5. Get regular physical exams. There are health issues that may affect balance and overall wellbeing. Regular exams could identify any complications on time and ensures you and your doctor take the proper measures.
- Ask your doctor if vitamin D or calcium may improve bone, muscle or nerve health.
- Have your doctor check your feet and ask if any special footwear is necessary.
6. Review medications. Some side effects of medication may cause symptoms that lead to falls. Have your healthcare provider check all medications, supplements, vitamins and over-the-counter drugs. Tell them about any side effects you may experience such as drowsiness or dizziness.
7. Keep a safe home environment. Because most falls occur in the home, it is essential to plan for safety. Check out these tips to safeguard your home.
If you or your loved were injured due to the negligence of others, call your Florida personal injury attorneys at Rubenstein Law. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at 1-800-FL-LEGAL for a free consultation.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to provide general information to our readers. None of the information contained in this post should be construed to constitute legal or medical advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction and cases often turn on minor differences in fact. Do not rely exclusively on any of the information contained in this post. Always seek further assistance from a legal or medical professional where necessary.