The golden years of life should be spent in retirement, enjoying life. Unfortunately, not everyone over the age of 65 will pass through these years without an injury from a fall. In fact, an estimated 1 in 3 elderly adults (70+) will fall this year.
Injuries from falls range from slight bruises to broken hips, wrists, lacerations, or head trauma. These kinds of injuries stay with a
Humans are living longer, which can mean more falls, more broken bones, and more injuries.
There are, however, a few things that can be done to prevent falls and improve the balance of our elderly population.
- Be physically active with muscle strengthening exercises. A lack of simple exercises, such as yoga, walking, or swimming, decreases balance. Bone and muscle strength also decline without exercise. Without adequate support and strength, a person is more prone to falls.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. Diets without sufficient water can leave a person groggy and tired. Along with the right fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, an elderly person should aim to have at least 64 oz of water a day. This can keep the body full of energy and strength.
- Keep your home clear of roadblocks. 78% of falls happen in or around the home. Seniors can easily trip on loose rugs, wobbly stairs, or objects on the floor. Check to make sure every hall, room, or doorway is well lit.
If you do fall, do the following:
- Don’t panic.
- Assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
- Slide or slowly crawl to a couch or chair to pull yourself up.
- If you are badly injured, do not try to get up. Instead, call for help from a family member or close neighbor.
- If you cannot get up, call for help.
- If you live alone, crawl or slide to the nearest telephone and dial 911.
- If you are able to get up, do so slowly.
For caregivers, remember to keep the person calm and alert if possible. Immediately call 911 if they are seriously injured. If the victim becomes unconscious, keep them as still as possible until paramedics arrive.
For more information, read the AAOS Falls Guide on how to keep your home safe for the elderly and prevent falls.