Preventing Falls in the Elderly:
As people get older, their bodies’ ability to heal and recover from injuries gradually decreases. Consequently, for the elderly, minor injuries can turn into serious health complications. A seemingly minor injury can cause an elderly individual to end up bedridden, or worse. It is critical to take care of our aging loved ones by minimizing the risks of falls. The following reviews some important risk factors to consider when evaluating a elderly loved one’s living space, as well as some helpful tips for preventing falls in the ederly.
Recognize Fall Risk Factors
Risk is associated with the chance of an adverse event occurring more than once. In these situations, the risk is associated with a person’s likelihood of falling. Fortunately, some factors associated with falls can be reduced or avoided, while other risks simply need to be taken into consideration. Some of the most critical details to consider about the dangers associated with falls include:
- Extrinsic and environmental factors. These factors can change based on the individual’s circumstances. They are associated with the surroundings and can include anything from wearing inappropriate footwear, slipping on loose carpeting, or walking in areas with inadequate lighting.
- Intrinsic factors. Various intrinsic factors can increase the risk of fall accidents. Some of these factors are congenital, but others might be psychological. The older an individual is, the more likely that person is to fall due to a decrease in physical coordination and strength. Certain medications can produce side effects like dizziness that increase a person’s chances of slipping, tripping, or falling. Additionally, countless medical conditions including arthritis and diabetes can increase the risk of falls. Even though it is not a medical condition, impaired mobility greatly impacts the number and severity of falls.
- Exposure to Risk Factors. Those elderly individuals who are exposed to the greatest number of risk factors and the most likely to fall and suffer serious injuries. While living a bustling, active lifestyle comes with many benefits to a person’s mental and physical health, it greatly increases a person’s chances of being injured in a fall.
One of the most common results of falling among the elderly is death. The World Health Organization has found that approximately 640,000 individuals die each year from falls. Those who do not die experience a high likelihood of requiring subsequent long-term care.
Reducing Falls Among the Elderly
Preventing falls is one of the best ways to decrease chances that an elderly loved one will end up injured. Fortunately, there are some helpful precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of fall-related injuries for your elderly loved ones. Some of these helpful strategies include:
- Receive routine checkups. Elderly loved ones should receive checkups on a routine basis. This is critical so that any medical conditions can be promptly diagnosed and treated. Routinely visiting the doctor is a critical step to making sure that a person’s body is functioning appropriately. Elderly individuals should almost always see other medical professionals as well to make sure that they are in good physical shape.
- Make sure to exercise regularly. As people age, they experience decreased balance as well as a lack of coordination. Body strength is also reduced as a person ages, so it is for older folks to get sufficient exercise on a daily basis.
- Medication reviews. Some medications can cause individuals to experience side effects like unsteadiness or fatigue. These symptoms can lead to falls. It is a good idea to evaluate your loved one’s medications regularly and check with his or her doctor if the meds seem to interfere with bodily functions. Medications should also be discontinued if a person no longer needs them.
- Fall-proofing. In the same way that a person would make a house safer after a baby is born, a person can reduce fall hazards inside the home of an elderly individual. This process should involve removing all trip hazards as well as making sure that all areas are adequately lit. Fall-proof your loved one’s bedroom and bathroom, and eliminate stairs whenever possible.
- Invest in telecare equipment. Advances in technology have helped to simplify medical care for our elderly loved ones. Telecare equipment providers the opportunity to call for help in case a fall incident occurs at home and the injured individual is unable to get back up.
Understanding the Warning Signs
Falls are more likely among the elderly due to a number of factors related to the aging process. When these accidents occur, the resulting injuries can have a devastating impact on the victims and their loved ones. Family members of elderly individuals should try their best to keep an eye on their loved ones and their living spaces for any signs of the following heightened risk factors:
- Changes to hearing
- Chronic conditions like arthritis, hypertension, or Parkinson’s
- Declining eyesight
- Declining cognitive abilities
- Difficulty walking
- Injuries involving the feet or legs
- Muscle weakness
- Overuse of alcohol or medication to deal with pain
- Reliance on support when getting up from seated positions
Speak With an Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall, the aftermath can present countless challenges. One of the best things to do in such a situation is to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation at 516-358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900