Fall Prevention!

Get the facts to avoid a fall.

Falling is perhaps the single biggest fear of a senior adult. We are all aware of what can happen if we accidently slip or miss a step. But for older adults, the results from a fall are more immediate and concerning. Here are things to consider when rating the importance of prevention:

  • One in five people over the age of 65 will experience a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors.
  • Every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall.
  • Every 20 minutes a senior adult dies from a fall.
  • The most common injuries are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, pelvis, wrist and hand.

Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include:

  • Lower body weakness.
  • Vitamin D deficiency. A healthcare professional can test for this.
  • Difficulties with walking and balance. Whether this is a new problem or ongoing, it is important to seek physical therapy.
  • Medications, especially those over-the-counter, can have side effects. Many can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
  • Vision problems or outdated eyeglass prescriptions.
  • Persistent foot pain or poorly made footwear.

There are everyday hazards in the home that pose dangers to seniors and could create an unsafe condition, resulting in a fall. They include:

  • Broken or uneven steps.
  • Throw rugs or clutter that can be easily tripped over.
  • No handrails along stairs or in the bathroom.

Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of falling. Make certain you take the necessary precautions. If you are caring for a senior adult, do an inventory of his or her home and check for areas that could be conducive to a fall. Preventing an injury takes much less time than dealing with the aftermath. For more information on Westminster Canterbury Richmond, please contact Brandon Lowe, Stewardship Coordinator, at 804.264.6066 or blowe@wcrichmond.org.

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