Falls and the Elderly
by Peter O.
Falls commonly occur in elderly people aged 65 years and older, and account for more than 25% of emergency room visits every year. Many falls lead to head and hip injury.
Those people that are lucky not to injure their head or hip often end up with short term and long term pain. Almost one-third of people who fall are hospitalized, costing the healthcare system over 30 billion dollars every year.
The number of falls that lead to death have been on the rise. People who are more likely to fall are those who have low vitamin D in their blood, difficulty walking, problems with their eyes, those who have many medical problems and take several medications. Also, Illnesses such as arthritis or diabetes could reduce the strength on the legs.
Falling once increases the risk of falling again.
If you are 65 years or older, you think you are at risk of falling or have had a fall, please make sure to tell your doctor or other medical provider. They will help you to find out if you hurt yourself during the fall, and will help you to decrease the risk of falling in the future.
Things that can be done to decrease the possibility of falls may include some of the following:
– Make sure you have adequate lighting in your house
– Remove rugs that can make you trip and fall
– Remove all the clutter where you walk
– Any kind and any amount of safe exercise to maintain strength will help
– Making sure to eat balanced diets as often as possible
– Keeping all appointments with your medical team
– Only taking medicines that are approved or prescribed by your doctor
– Reporting any problems that may make you fall, no matter how small the problem may be
If you are not sure whether or not you are at high risk of falling, you can also discuss your concerns with an your home health nurse during a next visit. He/She will be glad to give you advice about your specific circumstances and what to do to decrease your risk of falling.
About the Author:
Peter O. studied at the University of Buea, West Africa, MedCentral College of Nursing in Ohio and Alcorn State University in Mississippi. He is a holder of two Bachelor’s degrees and two Master of Science degrees in both Biology and in Nursing. He is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with the American Academy of Nurse practitioners. He has a passion for health education which is why he is volunteering his time for short healthcare articles for Orange Caregivers. Outside work, he treasures spending time with his family and enjoys reading, listening to music and playing tennis.
- Important facts about falls (2017, February 10)
- Fall prevention: Simple tips to prevent falls (2016, October 25)
- Online Health Chat with Dr. Frederick Frost (2011, September 15)
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. If you think you are at risk of falling or have fallen, please contact your medical team as soon as possible.