Millions of seniors fall or slip every year, often leading to more serious injuries and complications. At old age, the body recovers slower and is less resilient against injury, so while a child may walk away from tripping, seniors are likely to encounter more traumatic injuries.
Older people are much more likely to suffer a fracture from falling. The most common areas fractured in a fall include:
- forearm and hand
- leg and ankle bones
Once fractured, seniors may require surgery to regain use of that part of their bodies. A fractured hip bone can require an entire hip replacement, an invasive surgery that requires anesthetic, long surgery times, and extended recovery period.
Why do the Elderly Fall so Often?
If older people know that falling could lead to serious injury, you would expect them to take steps to avoid it in the first place. However, a number of factors come into play, making fall prevention a big commitment.
The contributing factors can be categorized as medical and environmental.
Visual impairment beyond a worsening prescription can depth perception and seeing in general difficult, especially if the senior develops cataracts. Nervous system disorders can make the body hard to control, as is the case with sciatica. And diseases like Parkinson’s change a person’s gait and balance, making simple acts like walking an unstable activity. Joint and muscle problems can contribute to a difficulty in movement in general, and balance tends to get lost with age.
Most Falls Happen at Home
As people age, they’re less able to fix things around the house and keep their home organized. In turn, they create a living situation that’s hazardous and prone to falling. The aftermath of a fall leads to less mobility and even more reduced ability to care for themselves.
Environmental factors that lead to an unsafe home include:
- Slippery and uneven flooring
- Insufficient lighting
- Loose rugs, nails, steps and pets form obstacles
- Unstable furniture
What Happens After a Fall?
A minor but significant proportion of the elderly who have been injured after a fall experience head traumas, hip fractures, and lacerations. Men are more likely to die from a fall.
The Home can be Unsafe for Seniors
In addition to the tripping hazards at home, home intrusion is part of the top 10 injuries the elderly face. Violence from intruders can lead to injuries that are permanent and even promote early death.
People older than 65 are twice as likely to die in a fire at home than everyone else. Taking precautions to make the home safe to live in for elders is important for their long term care and well being.
How can you Help Prevent Injury?
Ridding the home of physical obstacles is the first thing that should be done in preventing an accident, but more technologically advanced solutions are available. Products like alarm device that’s easily triggered by the person carrying it. Once activated, authorities and appropriate assistance are contacted, and help is on its way.
Being reactive to household hazards can be measures taken too late- you have to be proactive in protecting your loved ones! Building a safe environment is the first step in preventing accidents.
Travis R who is a Canadian likes more in research activities. Currently he is doing his research in Health science. He likes to share all his views relating to health. You can catch him through his twitter @RTravis121.