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Elderly Falls: Their Causes and Prevention

elderly falls

There are few calls as terrifying than from the police or hospital saying your mother, father or other close relative injured themselves because of an elderly fall.

Each year, hundreds of elderly people fall in their homes or outside, leading to injuries and even death. There are many causes of falls in the elderly, but unless you’re older, you may not realize it.

When the dangers of falling or the injuries resulting from falling become too much, people should consider a living facility.

This keeps your elderly family members from being alone during a fall. Be sure your family members aren’t in danger of falling because of these common causes.

Natural Aging Issues

As a person ages, their body changes. Eyesight gets bad as does hearing. They may not see objects or hear warnings before tripping and falling.

It likely won’t happen in the home because they’re used to the layout. If your family member has animals such as dogs and cats or if there was a layout change, then it increases the risk of a home fall.

A person who lives alone and doesn’t have an alert necklace or bracelet can fall and be alone for hours or days. Often, they lay there until a friend or family member comes to check on them.

Medication Side Effects

It’s estimated that more than 72 percent of the elderly have at least one chronic ailment or disease. Many of these medications have side effects that make getting around difficult. These include dizziness and muscle weakness.

An elderly person can lose their balance and fall without any obstacle in their way. They can try to get up and have their muscles fail, causing them to fall. Weakness and dizziness caused by medications is a leading cause of falls.

Unfortunately, there is little you can do. They need the medications to live and often doctors can do little to combat the side effects. People are in particular danger if they recently changed or added medications or take more than four medications a day.

Poor Lighting

We talked before about how elderly people’s vision gets worse as they age. When you add in factors such as poor lighting, the chances of a dangerous fall increase.

Elderly people don’t live in their homes around the clock. They often leave for social functions, errands and going out to eat. This may take them to places they’re not familiar with. A dark parking lot or burnt out street lamp bulb can make it difficult to get around and lead to a fall.

They can fall and injure themselves. Depending on the area and time of day, they could lay there for hours before someone comes along to find them. In that time, they can succumb to the elements or their injuries.

Rugs Cause Elderly Falls

Knowing the layout of the home is a good way to ward off falls, but there’s still a chance. Area rugs, doormats and other small but movable items can be a problem.

A person can trip on a rug and fall down. Even if they know the rug is there, all it takes is a foot not lifted high enough to catch on the rug and cause a major injury. As a person ages, their bones can become brittle. Even a minor fall can have devastating consequences.

Physical Problems Associated with Disease

Elderly people usually have at least one chronic ailment. It can cause an increased chance of falling. Diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, urinary incontinence and Parkinson’s have issues that cause falls.

Urinary incontinence requires frequent trips to the bathroom. Alzheimer’s and other brain ailments can cause confusion. If a doctor diagnosed an elderly loved one with these types of diseases, then they may need full-time help at a living facility.

Why do old people fall? Their body doesn’t have the strength and ability that they had earlier in life. It can be difficult to see this in a parent or loved one, but for many it is inevitable.

Lack of Exercise as They Age

Everyone knows that muscles can stay strong with regular use and physical exercise. Sadly, health problems and other issues can keep elderly people from exercising on a regular basis. Age robs muscle mass, but physical activity can keep them stronger longer.

If they are unable to keep up with a physical routine, then the resulting muscle weakness can make falling more likely. At the very least, stronger muscles can make recovery from a fall easier.

Ways to Keep the Elderly Safe from Falls

There are many causes of falls and 1 out of 5 causes an injury. The elderly often suffer injuries that need surgery. They can develop dangerous infections and other problems. One fall can make another fall even more dangerous.

There are ways to keep elderly people safe. Placing braces and other safety items in bathrooms and bathtubs can help maintain balance when getting up.

People with a loss of mobility can use a walker to get around. It provides them something to hold on to when they move from place to place. You can also remove rugs and other floor items that cause them to slip and fall.

If the person lives alone, then someone should call or check in with them once a day. If you call and there is no answer, then visit to make sure they haven’t fallen or had a medical issue.

Learn the possible medical side effects of the various medication as well as their interactions with other medications. Many times, even the doctor may not realize two medications interact negatively.

Don’t Let Stubbornness Lead to Injury

Elderly people often don’t want to admit there is a problem. They can be prideful and mistake your attempts to keep them safe as treating them like children.

Ultimately, it is their life, but do your best to let them know you only want to keep them safe and happy as long as possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about elderly falls or elderly assisted living, then contact our site.