Falling: An Ever-Present Danger For Seniors

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As a child develops, many activities, such as running, jumping, climbing, and general exploration can lead to bumps, bruises, scrapes, and falls. In most cases, falls are of minor consequence as the young body is resilient and can heal quickly. Aging, though, hampers the resilience of the body which can prolong the healing process. Therefore, for seniors, falls pose as an extreme danger, and a threat to their safety and independence. Falls are an even greater challenge for those practicing elder care to prevent, as they can happen anywhere.

Home Care in Aventura FL: Senior Falls
Home Care in Aventura FL: Senior Falls

Why are seniors more susceptible to falling?

Falls can happen to anyone, but seniors are more at risk for serious injuries resulting from their fall. Falls can lead to fractions in the wrist, arm, ankle, or hip. More severe falls can lead to head injuries in elders. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that annually three million elders are treated in emergency rooms for falls with 800,000 patients hospitalized for head or hip fractures. 1 Furthermore, although one in four seniors will fall, only half will inform a physician, leaving potential injuries untreated.2

While the risk factors for falling are individualized, researchers have found common symptoms in those elders who have fallen:

  • Poor or changing eyesight: Vision problems can hide unseen trip hazards for seniors inside and outside the home.
  • Muscle weakness and pain: The ability to have a full range of motion is paramount to the continued health of seniors. Chronic or surprise pains can lead to unexpected falls for seniors.
  • Confusion: From being in an unfamiliar environment to dehydration or exhaustion from being outdoors, or the side-effects of medication, confusion can lead to a lack of mental clarity which can contribute to falling.3
  • Home hazards: Items such as an area rug, a broken step, or even a slick bathtub can make possible a nasty fall for elders.

The physical toll of falling for elders can be difficult, however, the mental trauma can have lasting effects. The CDC states that seniors who have fallen once are twice as likely to fall again.4 The anxiety caused by the fear of falling is common among seniors and can cause negative lifestyle changes. Seniors begin to avoid certain activities like walking, shopping, or social activities altogether. This disconnection can turn into depression and loss of purpose. |

Helping elders stay safe

Falls can happen anywhere but are not an inevitable part of life. Elder care practitioners can take simple steps to minimize falls:

  • Check your senior’s vision: It is important that your senior’s eyeglass prescription is current. Even small changes in vision can lead to falls.
  • Moving trip hazards at home: Caregivers should assess their senior’s home for trip hazards like curled or frayed rug edges, clutter on the floor, or broken tiles or steps. Also, consider adding gripping strips or handles to improve safety in the bathroom.
  • Walking aids: If your senior is unsure about moving around, get them an assistance device like a cane or walker. These can not only prevent falls but also increase mobility and confidence.
  • Know your medications: Understanding medication and its side effects is important to prevent falls. If side effects cause drowsiness or other symptoms that can lead to falling, try to determine the best time and safest location to take the medication to avoid falls.

Remember, it is always important to let your physician know when a fall happens. While it may not appear serious, a proper diagnosis can catch small problems before they grow larger.

If you or a family member are in need of hiring Home Care in Aventura, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.

About the author: Stephen Sternbach
Stephen Sternbach has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Star Multi Care Services since 1987. After the sale of the New York and New Jersey operations of Star Multi Care Services, Sternbach brought the company private where he remains President and CEO of this newly developed $22M home healthcare company. With Sternbach at the helm, Star Multi Care Services employs more than 550 employees, in six offices throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. From 1978 to 1986, Sternbach was associated with Automated Data Processing, Inc. (“ADP”)–a provider of information services, where he held several marketing positions before becoming the Director of Sales. 1999-2008 Sternbach was an active participant on the Board of Directors for Proginet–a computer software company based in Garden City, New York. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1996-2002. In 1996, Stephen Sternbach was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Paine Webber and NASDAQ. Sternbach was also named in Crain’s New York Business Article, “40 Under 40” Successful Business Executives/Future Business Leaders in 1995. While maintaining a diversity of business and personal interests, Sternbach concentrated most of his efforts over the past 28 years towards continuously improving the quality of services delivered by the Star Multi Care Services’ family of companies. Stephen Sternbach holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations and Personnel Administration from Ithaca College.