Falls for Seniors Can be Devastating, But Can be Prevented
Fall prevention for older adults with Intermountain Healthcare myGeneration Senior Clinic doctor
Las Vegas, NV (PRUnderground) November 27th, 2022
Every 13 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a falls-related injury.
According to the National Council on Aging, one-in-four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year and every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
“Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury-related hospital admissions among those over age 65,” said Girish Dalaut, DO, an internal medicine provider at Intermountain Healthcare. “One out of five falls also causes a serious injury such as broken bones or head injury and falls can lead to depression, loss of mobility and loss of functional independence.”
Many seniors who were hospitalized due to a fall were discharged to residential care or a rehabilitation facility. Sixty percent of hip fractures are also unable to walk again without assistance.
“The good news is that many falls among older adults can be prevented with some planning and safety in mind,” said Dr. Dalaut. He offers the following tips to help keep senior adults on their feet and moving forward safely:
• Exercise regularly. Get up and move! Do exercises that improve your balance and make your legs stronger. Building muscles and keeping ligaments lean and strong helps you walk more confidently.
• Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, such as rugs and toys, increase lighting in low-light areas, make stairs safe by installing handrails and non-slip surfaces and removing obstacles, and install grab bars in areas of uneven flooring and the bathroom. And be careful around small pets, one of the most common trip hazards for senior adults.
• Talk to your family members or others close to you. Ask them to help you take simple steps to stay safe. An unsafe home increases the risk for falling for everyone, from the very young to the very old.
• Ask your doctor to assess your risk for falling. And make sure to share your history of any recent falls
• Regularly review your medications with your doctor and/or pharmacist. This includes medications prescribed by all of your healthcare providers and any over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are using. Some combinations may cause side effects that increase dizziness or your risk of falling. Take your medications only as prescribed.
• Take extra precautions in unfamiliar environments. When visiting family members make sure their homes are also safe, by removing tripping hazards and adding increased lighting.
• Get your vision and hearing checked every year and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
• It’s safest to have uniform lighting in a room. Add lighting to dark areas. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
• Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better. For example, use a light color paint on dark wood.
• Get up slowly after you sit or lie down. Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or just wearing socks or slippers.
Dr. Girish Daulat in an internal medicine provider at the Intermountain South Decatur myGeneration Senior Clinc in Las Vegas.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information and updates, click here