Even though falling is a natural part of life, it can be fatal for a person over the age of 65 years. Falls have become the leading cause of nonfatal/fatal injuries for senior adults in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one in four Americans over 65 falls annually. The same source reveals that every 11 seconds, a senior adult is being treated in the emergency room, and every 19 minutes, a senior adult dies from a fall. The financial toll for senior adult falls is supposed to reach $67.7 billion by the end of 2020.
You shouldn’t let your loving parent or a senior family member become a statistic. Instead, be aware of senior adults’ home hazards and health concerns to lower the risk of falling.
This article provides information on what to do when the elderly keep falling.
Why Do Senior Adults Keep Falling?
When you have an aging parent or grandparent in your home, helping them to reduce the risk of falling is crucial to the overall health and well-being of the individual. Numerous factors can lead to senior adult falls. The most important thing is to be aware of some of these factors.
Here are some of the most common factors that may lead to senior adult falls:
- Vision – When a person is aging, less light will reach the individual’s retina. Such a person finds it difficult to see tripping hazards, contrasting edges, and obstacles in the house.
- Balance Issues – Most seniors lose balance and coordination as they grow older. On the other hand, inactivity reduces the flexibility of the individual. Such seniors are more prone to fall.
- Chronic Illnesses – More than 80% of senior adults have at least one chronic illness, including diabetes, arthritis, stroke, and more. These conditions can affect the optimal functioning of the body-mind system of the adult. Lost functions make senior adults more prone to falling.
- Home Environment – Most people fail to take the necessary precautions to make their homes senior adult-friendly. Tripping hazards and obstacles within the home environment are some of the most common reasons for falls in senior adults.
- Certain Medications – Certain medications can trigger falls in senior adults by causing dizziness and dehydration.
What Should You Do To Prevent Falls When An Elderly Person Keeps on Falling?
When you have an idea about the factors contributing to increasing the risk of older adult falls, it’s much easier to focus on the fall prevention strategies most suited for your specific situation. In fact, personalizing your approach to fall prevention is better than a generalized approach to preventing senior adult falls.
For example, you don’t want your elderly parent or grandparent to learn tai chi to prevent falling if her reason for falling is the strength of her blood pressure medications. A personalized approach will work more effectively under such circumstances.
Here are some of the most important steps to reduce the risk of falling in your home:
- Is everything visible to the elderly parent in his/her room? Dim lights can make it difficult for the individual to maneuver the space. Proper lighting in the living room is very important to prevent unnecessary falls in the house.
- If your parent or grandparent wears glasses, they should be using the glasses recommended by their eye doctor. Make sure they have the latest prescription for eyeglasses. On the other hand, bifocals can be quite dangerous on the stairs. You should be aware of these factors to reduce the risk of your parent or grandparent falling unnecessarily.
- Discuss the health conditions of your parent or grandparent with him or her. Many older adults recognize the risk of falling as they grow older. But most of them believe that it won’t happen to them or they won’t get injured due to falls. Ask if the individual has any problem with managing their health. Are they having any side effects from the medications they take? Do they find it difficult to do the things that they easily did? You should encourage the adult to speak openly with his/her medical practitioner about any of these concerns.
- Clearing the walkway is important to prevent your parent or grandparent from falling. Beware of old rugs and clutter on the floor. Remove all the items that may cause a hazard to your elderly adult when walking in the house.
- All staircases should have railings to safeguard your parent or grandparent when they use the stairs. Railings are more secure when elderly adults walk up and down the stairs.
- Don’t forget to install grab bars in the bathroom of your senior adult. Grab bars should be installed for the shower and near the toilet for additional support and are a common way to prevent falls in the bathroom.
- Daily physical exercises are important to improve the balance and coordination of older adults. Even small movements performed regularly can help strengthen the muscles within the body. Yoga, chair exercises, tai-chi, walking around the block, and group fitness classes are some of the most effective in this regard.
When Should You Consider Professional Care?
You are the most important resource to prevent the falling of your parent or grandparent. Loved ones can install the necessary home improvement features to prevent unnecessary falls in senior adults. You should frequently check with your parent or grandparent to assess your home for any hazards and take the adult for regular medical check-ups.
The next best choice is to consult with a senior home care agency in the area. These professionals are highly skilled and trained in senior adult fall prevention strategies.
They will clear the clutter from the senior’s home and allow the adult to move freely. The caregiver will ensure your parent or grandparent is sitting, standing, and walking safely to prevent unnecessary falls. An extra set of eyes on your parent or grandparent can help him or her to stay safe at all times.
What Does It Mean When An Elderly Person Keeps Falling?
If an elderly person keeps falling, something is wrong – either with the environment or the person. Falls can be fatal to adults over the age of 65 years. If your senior adult keeps falling, you must check for any tripping hazards or obstacles in your home. Assess the health condition of your parent or grandparent by taking him/her for regular medical check-ups. Eliminating any environmental risks and improving the balance and coordination of the older adult can help prevent unnecessary falls.
What Could Be The Cause Of Frequent Falls?
The normal changes that come with aging are some of the common causes of frequent senior falls. For example, poor eyesight, poor balance and coordination, and poor hearing are some of the most common causes. The home environment is also responsible for increasing the risk of falling. Poor lighting in the house, unsecured or unsafe throw rugs, and clutter on the floor can make an older adult more likely to slip or trip.
Why Can’t An Elderly Person Get Up After A Fall?
As a person gets older, he or she becomes less flexible. The ligaments and tendons of such people become more brittle with aging. When old people fall, they cannot bring their legs under them to get up after the fall. Their legs are less flexible and won’t bend the full 90 degrees to get up immediately. It is especially difficult for elderly people to get up off the floor by themselves.
Falling is a natural part of life – kids fall when they learn to walk. But senior falls can become fatal due to the fragile health condition of older adults. That’s why you should do everything you can to prevent your parent or grandparent from falling.