September 22, 2017 marks the 10th annual National Falls Prevention Day.
1 in 4 Americans, age 65 and over, fall every year. Falls are the leading cause of injury related to Emergency Room visits in older adults.
Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:
- As people age, coordination, flexibility, and balance can be lost— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
- As you age, less light reaches the retina in the eyes. Which causes contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
- Some medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with another medication, that can lead to a fall.
- More than 80% of seniors have at least one chronic condition such as diabetes, stroke or arthritis. These can increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
“NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center supports the implementation of evidence-based falls prevention programs and serves as a national clearinghouse of tools and best practices.”
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented, as long as you know what to look for. To help prevent seniors from falling, health care providers are encouraged to take these three steps:
1) Screen patients for fall risk
2) Review and manage patients’ medications that might increase fall risk
3) Recommend daily vitamin D supplements for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health.
There are also medical alert devices seniors can use at home. For more information on that type of device, click here.