Fall risk

The Facts About Falling

Falls are the number one cause of hospital admissions for seniors. They also account for 34% of all injury-related hospitalizations overall. While falling is not a good thing for anyone, it is especially dangerous for seniors as their bodies cannot recover as easily, if at all.

Five important things everyone should know about falls in seniors:

  1. One in three adults over the age of 65 will fall at least once per year. Half of those people will fall a second time.
  2. Falls account for 85% of injury-related hospitalizations in seniors.
  3. Hip fractures occur in 40% of falls in seniors and half of those individuals never fully recover.
  4. At least 50% of falls occur at home, usually in the bathroom or on the stairs.
  5. Sadly, one in five seniors will die within 12 months of a fall. That makes falls the sixth leading cause of death in seniors.

Knowing these facts, the most important thing to keep in mind is that many falls are preventable. Whether you yourself are a senior or there is someone that you love that is entering that period of their life, there are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent a fall.

  1. Begin a regular exercise program. Regular exercise, at any level, is beneficial for all ages. Seniors in particular should exercise regularly to improve muscle function and balance. This can help prevent falls caused by weakness and unsteadiness.
  2. Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications. This simple step is often over-looked. Often medications that are prescribed don’t always necessarily coalesce together. Some combinations can cause fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and many other symptoms. These can contribute to the occurrence of falls.
  3. Have your vision checked. Don’t put it off. Something as simple as a new pair of glasses can improve vision and depth perception, preventing falls, especially on stairs.
  4. Make your home safer. Keep everything at arms reach. Those things that you only use once a year for holidays or special occasions, move it to the top shelf and keep your plates and glasses on the first shelf. Make sure that all stairways have sturdy banisters and all carpets and rugs are secure. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help in making your home safer.

Sometimes, pride can get the better of us. We don’t want to use things because it makes us look weak. Well it is better that you have handrails in your bathroom just in case, than to end up in the hospital.

Prevention is the key in many falls. For more information on prevention, check out the “You Can Prevent Falls” article from the Public Health Agency of Canada website (www.phac-aspc.gc.ca)