According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of three adults age 65 or older will fall every year. Two million of these falls will result in injury and be treated in an emergency medical center.
Injuries caused by falls of elderly people, such as brain injuries, broken limbs or hip fractures can be a serious threat to their health and independence. Healthcare for these fall-related injuries also can be highly expensive.
Risk factors for falls
There are a few factors that will impact the severity and risk of injury resulting from a fall. The age of a person has a lot to do with the outcome. Older people are at a much higher risk of injury than younger people. Also, if a person is taking multiple medications, has peripheral neuropathy, a prior history of a hip fracture or osteoporosis, he or she is at a higher risk of being injured in a fall.
Many falls can be prevented. Here are a few precautions you can take to help lower your risk of taking a dangerous fall.
- Avoid any setting that may have slippery, uneven or unstable flooring, or have clutter that would be easy to trip over.
- Be sure all appliances, countertops, bathtubs, toilets, etc., are easy to use and maneuver in and out of and around.
- Ensure all staircases in the home have handrails.
- Speak with your doctor about all medications you are taking and whether the combination is increasing your chance of injury or fall.
- Have balance and strength screenings to assess what your weakness and imbalances are, and inquire about how to improve them.
- Have a regular exercise and training program to help improve your strength, endurance and balance.
The Longstreet Clinic Balance Center specializes in the evaluation of musculoskeletal imbalances that can lead to falls and the development of exercise and strengthening plans that can help prevent dangerous and costly falls. In many cases, balance assessments may be covered by Medicare or private insurance for certain individuals. To learn more, call 678-207-4222.