Did you know? Falls Edition
1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 will report a fall this year.
In the US every 11 seconds an older adult in seen in the ER due to injuries from a fall
In the US an older adult (65 and older) falls every second of every day
Each year in the US at least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized due to hip fracture, over 95% of which are caused by falls.
An adult, age 65 and over, will fall every second in the US and every 11 seconds an adult is seen in the ER due to injuries sustained due to a fall. 1 in 4 older adults will report a fall in a given year. Falling is more common as people get older, but is not a normal part of aging. Understanding your risk for falls and understanding tips for home safety can greatly decrease your risk for falls and future injury.
There are many different health factors that may increase your risk for falls. Having multiple risk factors does increase the chances of having a fall. See the list below of some of the risk factors that may place you at an increased risk for falls.
- Having a history of previous falls
- Poor vision
- Gait and balance problems
- Fear of falling
- Postural hypo-tension
- Different chronic conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, incontinence, MS.
- Medications that may cause falls and/or dizziness
- Muscle weakness
If you have any one of these risk factors, you have a history of falls, or you have a fear of falling yourself talk with your doctor to set up a fall prevention strategy. You and your physician can work together to manage medical issues that may be related to falls. He or she may also prescribe physical therapy. A physical therapist can perform tests in order to determine your risk for falls and can work with you to develop a program designed specifically around the areas that place you at an increased risk for falls.
Tips for preventing falls in your home:
- Stay physically active. Regular exercise can improve strength and keep you flexible. Light weight-bearing activities has also been shown to slow osteoporotic related bone-loss.
- Wear sensible shoes. Wearing non-skid shoes, do not walk in socks or in shoes with smooth soles as this can increase your risk for falls. Also be mindful of shoes with high heels.
- Get up slowly. Changing positions too quickly may cause your blood pressure to drop which will leave you feeling light-headed or dizzy.
- Use nightlights or flashlights. Vision plays an important role in maintaining balance, having nightlights throughout the house to keep areas lit even at night, such as hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms, will allow you to see where you are walking even at night.
- Remove tripping hazards. Throw rugs have a tendency to move and the corners can turn up creating a tripping hazard. Also avoid stacking objects on the floor. Remove clutter such as newspapers and magazines. Keep walkways and hallways clear.
- Keep frequently used items in easy to reach places. By keeping frequently used items in low cabinets or on counter-tops it will allow you to easily reach them without climbing on a stool or ladder.
- Be mindful of pets. Small pets may run under your feet, consider putting a bell on their collar so you can easily identify where they are at. Larger pets may jump on you, consider obedience training for these pets. Also keep animals’ toys, food, and water out of frequently used paths and walkways.
- Be mindful of wet surfaces. You may install grab bars near the toilet and bathtub as well as install non-skid mat or adhesives to your shower or bathtub, wet surfaces increase your risk for falls.
- Stair safety. Install sturdy handrails on stairs and use them. Regularly check the handrails to make sure they are steady.
- Use assistive devices properly. If you use an assistive device use it correctly, do not hold on to furniture as you walk through your home. If you have frequent falls you may benefit from an assistive device such as a cane or walker, however these should be fitted properly by a physical therapy prior to use.
If you are in need of pre or post surgical care, general re-conditioning, or help returning to sport/daily activities in the wake of an injury, schedule your appointment at one of our 11 Greater St. Louis area locations or via a Telehealth injury screening.
To schedule an appointment with Kelsey or any of our expert physical therapists, request an appointment online today.