Causes of Falls in the Elderly & How to Prevent Them

By on August 4, 2021

Falls can cause hip fractures, shattered bones, and even brain injuries in one out of every four older persons. Falls are the leading cause of accidents among adults over 65. Falls are also the leading cause of major injuries and fatalities among the elderly.

What Are Some Causes of Falls?

Normal aging changes, such as decreased eyesight or hearing, can increase your risk of falling. Your strength and balance might be affected by illnesses and physical impairments. You’re more prone to trip or slip if your home has poor lighting or throw rugs.

Some drugs have adverse effects that can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Medicines for depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure are all known to cause falls. Some diabetes and heart disease medications can leave you wobbly on your feet. Some other causes of falls include:

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  • Balance: Most of us lose coordination, flexibility, and balance as we become older, mostly due to inactivity, making it easier to fall.
  • Vision: Less light reaches the retina as the eye ages, making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstructions more difficult to see.
  • Environment: Most seniors have lived in their houses for a long time and have never considered making basic changes to make it safer as they get older.
  • Chronic Conditions: More than 80% of seniors have at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. These often increase the risk of falling because they induce loss of function, inactivity, depression, pain, or the need to take many medications.

How to Prevent Falls in the Home

The best way to prevent falls in the home is to ensure it’s as safe as possible. Make any necessary improvements to your home if there are any potential hazards. This includes:

  • Installing a stair lift. A stair lift enables older people to safely reach all levels of their houses while reducing the risk of falling.
  • Wear shoes with nonskid soles to prevent any slipping on wood floors.
  • Make sure your home is brightly lit so you can see any potential tripping hazards. 
  • In your bedroom, bathroom, corridors, stairwells, and anywhere else that can be dark use night lights.
  • Remove throw rugs or use carpet tape to secure them to the floor. Secure the carpet’s edges with tacks.
  • Make sure electrical cords are not strewn across walkways so that someone won’t be able to trip over it.
  • Install grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and toilet.
  • Handrails should be installed on both sides of the stairwells.
  • Climbing on stools and stepladders is not a good idea. Get someone else to assist you with any jobs that require climbing.

There are numerous factors that enhance the likelihood of older people falling. When a loved one falls, the first thing to do is get medical help. The second goal is to figure out why the person fell and to prevent future falls by treating diseases that can cause falls or removing some of the reasons.

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Causes of Falls in the Elderly & How to Prevent Them