As you may realize, there are several factors that feed into the statistics of why falls happen and what puts an elder at higher risk for a fall. Perhaps it is the medication that they take, perhaps they are not eating enough, at the right times or the proper types of foods, perhaps they are not sleeping properly – all of this can feed into why an elder slips and falls.
Since With Age Comes Respect, I often do research into these types of issues, trying to forego as many accidents as possible. As the website http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00135 states, here are some factors to really consider and then fix before the inevitable happens:
Medical Risk Factors
- Impaired musculoskeletal function, gait abnormality and osteoporosis
- Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), blood pressure fluctuation
- Depression, Alzheimer’s disease and senility
- Arthritis, hip weakness and imbalance
- Neurologic conditions, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis
- Urinary and bladder dysfunction
- Vision or hearing loss
- Cancer that affects the bones
- Side effects of medications
Personal Risk Factors
- Age. The risk for a fall increases with age. Normal aging affects our eyesight, balance, strength, and ability to quickly react to our environments.
- Activity. Lack of exercise leads to decreased balance, coordination, and bone and muscle strength.
- Habits. Excessive alcohol intake and smoking decrease bone strength. Alcohol use can also cause unsteadiness and slow reaction times.
- Diet. A poor diet and not getting enough water will deplete strength and energy, and can make it hard to move and do everyday activities.
Risk Factors in the Home
- Many falls are the result of hazards like slippery or wet surfaces, poor lighting, inadequate footwear, and cluttered pathways in the home.
- Most fractures are the result of a fall in the home, usually related to everyday activities such as walking on stairs, going to the bathroom, or working in the kitchen.