Fears: Seniors Say Falling is Top of the List

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posted by Ted Ryan on May 06, 2013

While recently speaking with a client, she said something that I believe many seniors relate to. She said, “Fear and Falling" are her two primary concerns as she ages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three seniors fall each year. Interestingly, studies have linked the fear of falling to an actual increased risk of falling. Fear may lead to limiting activities, reducing mobility and curbing physical fitness, which in turn increases the risk of falling.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid falls. First, learn the factors that contribute to senior falls:

  1. Lack of physical activity – This leads to poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance and reduced flexibility.
  2. Impaired vision – As vision decreases, the ability to see potential hazards does also.
  3. Medications – Some medications, especially when combined, can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion or slowed reactions.
  4. Diseases – Health conditions such as dementia or arthritis may cause weakness in extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.
  5. Surgeries – Surgery can leave an elderly person weak, uncomfortable, in pain and less mobile.
  6. Environmental hazards – These may include poor lighting, loose carpets, lack of safety equipment or any other household tripping hazards.

By knowing these factors, we can take steps to avoid them. Helpful precautions may include:

  1. Regular exercise to build strength and balance.
  2. Careful review of medications.
  3. Regular eye exams.
  4. Osteoporosis screenings.
  5. Grab bars or handrails in showers and bathtubs.
  6. Bathmats to avoid shower or bathtub slips. Shower chairs and transfer benches can also be helpful.
  7. Sturdy stairs with strong hand railings.
  8. Bright lighting throughout the home and staircases. Motion sensitive lights can be very helpful.
  9. Tack rugs in place (including those on stairs).
  10. Avoid clutter. Remove unnecessary furniture and loose throw rugs.
  11. Keep electrical cords clear from walkways.
  12. Wear reliable shoes or slippers, even in the home. Avoid walking is socks, stockings or floppy, backless slippers.
  13. Keep frequently used items easily accessible.

Assessing and addressing the factors of a loved one’s conditions will help allow them to continue living in the comfort of home. Proper modifications improve safety, prevent falls and avoids other fears of aging.

For a free assessment from a qualified RN, contact us today.

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