Senior falls can be dangerous, expensive and scary, especially if they result in potentially detrimental injuries. But falls are a reality for many older adults, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting that one in four seniors experience a fall each year and one in five falls results in “a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.”
And while accidents happen, there are ways to encourage fall prevention in the elderly. National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is on September 22nd this year, which also happens to be the first day of fall. National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is promoted through the National Council On Aging and aims to support fall prevention in the elderly.
National Movement To Prevent Senior Falls
The goal of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is to create a national movement to educate people about the dangers of senior falls on the local level. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults, but NCOA believes that the risk can be significantly reduced “through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and community partnerships.”
They lay out 6 ways you can stand up to senior falls:
- Exercise For Improved Balance. Exercise is an essential part of healthy aging, as well as fall prevention in the elderly. Specifically, exercises that promote balance and help to strengthen the core, such as yoga, pilates and Tai Chi, can help you lower your fall risk.
- Speak To Your Doctor. Regular checkups are not only vital to review your overall health, but can also serve as a way to include annual fall risk assessments into your healthcare plan. If you are not due for a checkup for a few months, you can also utilize our free fall risk assessment tool to determine your potential fall risks.
- Regularly Review Medications With Your Doctor or Pharmacist. Many seniors experience falls due to side effects from prescriptions drugs, or side effects from how different prescription drugs interact with one another. If you don’t tell all of your doctors which medications you take before they prescribe you other pills, you can be at a higher risk for experiencing falls. Talking to your general practitioner or pharmacist every time you receive a new prescription could ultimately lead to positive fall prevention.
- Check Vision And Hearing Annually. Vision and hearing can naturally decline with age and can be major contributors to senior falls. By committing to have your hearing and vision checked regularly can help keep you on your feet and out of harm’s way.
- Keep Your Home Safe. Fall hazards may be lurking in your home without you even knowing it, but making small changes can have a big impact on fall prevention in the elderly. NCOA recommends starting by removing “tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas.”
- Talk To Loved Ones. Some seniors feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit they have experienced a fall, but there is no shame in asking for help. Reaching out to loved ones after experiencing a fall can help prevent future falls and injuries. Together, you can have a conversation about creating a plan to combat falls at home and keep you safe from harm.
Senior Falls And Peace of Mind
Of course, there is no way to indefinitely avoid falls, no matter how many safeguards you put in place. You can, however, mitigate the damage from falls by ensuring near-immediate medical attention should you need it, with medical alert systems. Medical alert devices are a great way to help you get over the fear you may have of falling, especially if you have already experienced a fall in the past.
Medical Guardian offers a wide variety of medical alert systems that serve various lifestyles and budgets, to keep you safer in your home longer. Fall prevention in the elderly can only so far, but medical alert systems can serve as an excellent safety net should an emergency occur.