Falls are a serious health problem among older adults. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury in this age group. 1 of every 4 older adults will fall each year. Falls can be especially dangerous if you have health conditions or take medications that increase your injury or complication following a fall. Falling is not inevitable; you can take steps to lower your risk of falling by addressing your fall risk factors.
Identify fall risk factors.
If you're worried about falling, it's important to identify fall risk factors. Fall risk factors include balance and gait problems, vision loss, depression and anxiety disorders, use of alcohol or drugs, polypharmacy (the use of multiple medications), pain, history of falls and sensory deficits among others.
Physical therapists are trained to help patients identify these risk factors so they can be addressed early on.
Make your home a safe place.
To prevent falls, you'll want to make sure that your home is free of tripping hazards. Here are some steps you can take:
Remove clutter and keep pathways clear.
Make sure lights are working properly in all rooms and hallways, including those near stairs or outside doors.
Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and kitchen (especially on tile floors).
Install grab bars in the bathroom and kitchen near toilets, tubs/showers and sinks so that they're within reach if someone needs them while standing up from sitting down on them (or vice versa).
Install railings on stairways
Talk to your doctor about medications you take.
Talk to your doctor about medications you take. Medications that affect balance or coordination may increase fall risk, including:
Blood pressure medications
Pain relievers (opioids)
Sedatives and sleeping pills
Maintain your balance and strength, which can help prevent falls.
Get regular exercise and other physical activity, such as walking or tai chi.
This will help you maintain your balance and reduce fall risk factors like obesity (being overweight) or diabetes. There are many ways to get active:
If you're not used to being physically active, start slowly by taking short walks every day--even if it's just around the block! If possible, walk with someone else who can help make sure that nothing gets in your way. Gradually increase how far you walk each day until eventually you're able to go on longer walks without having any problems at all!
Wear proper shoes and clothing when you're out and about.
Wear proper shoes and clothing when you're out.
Make sure that your shoes have a good grip on the soles, so that they don't slip when walking on wet or slippery surfaces like snow or ice.
Wear shoes that fit properly
Choose comfortable footwear: if it hurts to walk in them, don't wear them!
Get help with daily tasks that pose hazards, such as carrying heavy objects or climbing stairs.
Don't carry heavy objects. If you have to lift or move something, get help from another person.
Don't climb stairs alone. If you live in an older home, it may be difficult to find a handrail that's high enough and sturdy enough for safe use when climbing stairs. Use caution when going up and down steps by holding on to the railings securely with both hands as you go up and down each step - one foot should remain firmly planted on each stair at all times while doing so!
Avoid slippery surfaces like wet floors or ice patches outdoors (or even just damp rugs indoors). If possible, avoid walking around when these surfaces exist--instead choose an alternative route such as going over them instead of through them! This will help keep accidents from happening underfoot if we're not careful enough about where we step during our daily routines around town...
Use assistive devices that can help prevent falls, such as grab bars and rails.
Grab bars are a great way to help prevent falls. They're inexpensive and easy to install, and they can be used in the bathroom or any other room in the house. There are many different styles of grab bars, including:
Grab bars with a single grip surface that mounts directly onto the wall with no special hardware required
Grab bars that mount on top of existing towel racks or shower caddies (if you already have one)
Falling is not inevitable; there are things you can do to protect yourself from them
Not all falls are the same. A fall can range from a minor stumble to a serious injury that requires hospitalization and long-term care. Falls that result in broken bones, head trauma, or other injuries can be devastating for the individual who falls and their family members.
The risk of falling increases as you age because your ability to sense where your body is in space changes over time. As a result of these changes, older adults may lose their balance more easily than younger adults--even if they haven't changed their activity levels or routines at home or work.
Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults.
Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults. Falling can lead to serious injuries, including broken bones and head injuries. Falls can also be fatal: each year, more than 1 million people die from a fall-related injury.
Depression increases the chance of falling in older adults.
Depression is a common cause of falls, and it can also increase the risk of falling. Depression can make it harder to recover from a fall by making you feel tired and unmotivated. Depression can also change how your body feels and moves, which may increase your chance of falling.
The risk for falls increases as you age.
As you age, the risk for falls increases. The risk for falls increases with age. As your body ages, it becomes more difficult to stay balanced and steady on your feet.
Many common fall risk factors are modifiable.
Many common fall risk factors are modifiable. These include:
Improper footwear or footwear that does not fit well.
Poor vision or hearing, especially in older adults.
Use of medications that can cause dizziness and falls, such as sedatives (including sleeping pills), tricyclic antidepressants and antihistamines to treat allergies.
Inability to get up from a chair or bed
Lack of strength
Poor balance and coordination
Balance and gait problems are risk factors for falls.
Balance and gait problems are risk factors for falls. Balance can be affected by a variety of things, including poor vision, hearing and impaired mobility (such as walking with a cane). Gait problems can result from arthritis, neurological impairment or other conditions that cause you to move differently than usual.
If you have balance or gait issues:
Stay at home if it's unsafe outside due to icy conditions or high winds. If you must go out in bad weather, wear sturdy shoes with rubber soles so they don't slip on ice; carry an umbrella in case of rain; use extra caution near stairs
You can take steps to lower your risk of falling by addressing your fall risk factors
Fall risk factors are things that increase the chance of falling. They're not inevitable, but they can make it more likely for you to fall.
Stay active and exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep bones strong, muscles flexible, and balance better overall so that you're less likely to lose balance or trip when walking around your home or yard (or anywhere else). If possible--and especially if there is someone who lives with them who could help them--it's best for older adults who are at risk of falling not only because it improves their physical ability but also because it encourages socialization.
Falls are a serious problem for older adults. They can lead to serious injury, hospitalization and even death. But falls don't have to happen if you take steps to prevent them. Physical Therapy can be an important component of a comprehensive fall risk management plan.