Falls and injuries, often severe, are on the rise as the population ages. The risk for falls (and harm resulting from them) increases significantly over the age of 65. And as the aging population continues to grow each year, more and more seniors are suffering life-threatening falls, many of which result in long-term disability and reduced quality of life.
Government agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, and medical associations are all struggling to find the best way to address the situation. It has shown to be a delicate balancing act with competing concerns for safety, senior independence and effectiveness. Today, Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in Boca Raton is going to explore the risks of falls for seniors and what families can do to help ensure the safety of their aging loved ones.
Real Risks from Falling
There are significant risks to falling in old age. Did you know that falls are the number one cause of death from an injury for those over the age of 65? Aside from this startling high fatality rate, last year more than 2.5 million seniors were treated in emergency rooms across the nation as the result of a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The Underlying Causes of Higher Fall Rates
The occurrence of acute fall incidents is rising among senior citizens. Part of this is due to the extended lifespan of senior adults. With an increase in life expectancy, there are a higher number of individuals who are living long enough to suffer from age-related chronic conditions. The symptoms of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and stroke play a role in fall risk, increasing the likelihood of a fall.
There are also side effects from medications to consider. The average senior takes anywhere from eight to ten prescriptions on a daily basis, and unfortunately, some medications can cause vertigo, vision issues, and shakiness. The more medications, the higher risk of medication complications, increasing fall risk as well as creating health concerns.
Reducing Injuries and Occurrences is Possible
There are steps that families can take to reduce their aging loved one’s risk of falling including but not limited to:
- Working with physicians to closely monitor and address medication side effects
- Maintaining strength, balance and flexibility through regular fitness routines
- Providing a medical emergency alert pendant to alert medical professionals of falls
- Hiring a part-time or live-in caregiver in Boca Raton to provide monitoring and support
Home and facility design can further reduce injuries. Using a strong shade and color contrast for steps, showers, and other such features improves visibility. The classic all-white bathroom can be a significant hazard for seniors, for example. A black toilet seat and black sided tub can make them stand out, reducing the chance of a fall stepping into the tub or sitting on the toilet.
As the oldest segment of the population grows, we need to address ways to reduce falling hazards and harm. For more information about senior safety and in-home care, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Home Care Assistance of Boca Raton today. We offer complimentary in-home consultations and can help you enhance the safety of your aging parent or loved one. Call 561-826-9282 to speak with a friendly Care Manager.