YES, YOU CAN HELP PREVENT A SERIOUS FALL
GARDEN GROVE, CA -- Every year, one in three people ages 65 years old and older suffers a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of falls increases with age and can lead to serious injury, including hip fractures and head injuries, as well as hospitalization, loss of independence and even death. In fact, a senior seeks medical attention for a fall related injury every 18 minutes; and most unfortunately, a senior dies every 35 minutes as a consequence of a fall. Thankfully, there are ways to limit the risk of a fall for yourself and a loved one.
“Falls and the fear of falling are very serious issues for all seniors today,” said Dr. Sheldon Zinberg, founder and chairman of California-based Nifty after Fifty, the nation’s leading fitness and wellness centers for older adults, and Encore Wellness®, a population health care services company. “They can happen in a matter of seconds and have life-changing consequences. Medication reactions, loose rugs or a small pet under your feet may be the culprit, but the result is a potentially dangerous accident.”
Dr. Zinberg says most serious injuries can be prevented by proper physical training but also, there are a number of ways to protect yourself or a loved one. Here are some important tips from the CDC and The National Council on Aging:
Exercise. Physical activity increases balance, strength and flexibility. Some insurers provide exercise programs as part of their plans. People with this benefit should be urged to use it. Almost all seniors should be involved in an exercise program, preferably in a customized program.
Talk to your doctor. Older people tend to take more medications than younger people. This increases their risk of adverse drug interactions, including side effects like dizziness and drowsiness that can lead to falls. Talk to your doctor about your medications and your risk for falls.
Get your eyes checked. Eye and vision problems, including issues such as poor depth perception, can lead to falls. Those with glasses should wear them at all times, especially when getting up during the night.
Check your house. Most falls occur in the home. Many of these falls can be prevented by eliminating fall-inducing clutter, poor lighting, loose rugs, etc., or adding safety features, such as grab bars and railings. Make sure your house is safe.
Wear low-heeled rubber-soled shoes. Slippers can be slippery and thongs or certain sandal designs can foster tripping. Wear safe fitting walking shoes, like athletic shoes.
Dr Zinberg added, “there are many resources available to reduce an individual’s risk of falling. The key is education and a focus on prevention. Additionally, seniors should be aware that a fall could indicate an underlying medical condition that warrants evaluation by your doctor.”