Friday, May 29, 2015

Falls pose serious health risks for elderly

More and more both insurance companies and health care professionals are recognizing the perils seniors risk when they fall.  Falls are among the leading causes of injury in people age 65 and older.  They can cause everything from minor cuts and bruises, to fractured bones to serious- and potentially fatal- head injuries.
In older people, a fall can really be life changing.  For someone who has managed to live on their own independently, a major fall can take you out of that situation and put you in assisted living or a nursing home.
According to one fall prevention guide, at least one-third to one-half of the population over 65 years of age will experience a fall, which accounts for more than 90 percent of hip fractures suffered by older adults.
The following are tips to help prevent falls:
Keep moving by exercising regularly.  Focus on building leg strength and improving balance.  Tai chi programs are considered beneficial.
Review all medications to see if they are making you unsteady.
Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update eyeglass prescriptions.
Make your home safe by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways and improving lighting.
Be aware as you age, your reflexes might not as good.
Wear shoes that give you more support and aren't likely to cause you to slip or fall.
When getting out of a bed or chair, sit then stand.
To lower risk of fractures, get adequate calcium and vitamin D from food or supplements.  Get screened for osteoporosis.

Sources; Sheila Poole,, Atlanta Journal Constitution