BY MARLO SOLLITTO (Provided by AgingCare.com)Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. In fact, one out of every three seniors falls every year. Last year alone, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries.
Several factors contribute to the fact that seniors fall so much more frequently than younger people:
Lack of physical activity. Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance, and reduced flexibility.
Impaired vision. This includes age-related vision diseases, as well as not wearing glasses that have been prescribed.
Medications. Sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs, plus taking multiple medications are all implicated in increasing risk of falling.
Diseases. Health conditions such as Parkinson's disease,Alzheimer's disease and arthritis cause weakness in the extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.
Surgeries.Hip replacements and other surgeries leave an elderly person weak, in pain and discomfort and less mobile than they were before the surgery.
Environmental hazards. One third of all falls in the elderly population involve hazards at home. Factors include: poor lighting, loose carpets and lack of safety equipment.
However, falls are not an inevitable part of growing older. Many falls can be prevented, by making the home safer and using products that help keep seniors more stable and less likely to fall.
Preventing Falls in an Elderly Person's HomeCaregivers can do several things to make the home safer for their senior mom or dad.
There are also pad/monitors that detect and sound an alarm if a person steps on the pad (detects pressure). This type of pad can be used beside the bed, in a hallway or in front of a chair while the person is seated.
Fall mats. Fall mats are used in areas where a person could be injured from a fall on a hard floor such as the side of a bed, by a toilet or in front of a chair. They are cushioned floor mats of various sizes 1-inch or 2-inches thick with beveled edges. They cushion the fall and prevent injuries.
Grab bars. Install them near the toilet, in the bathtub and shower.