Dangers of falls in the elderly
Sometimes things that seem casual to us, like falling, can be fatal for elder people. In fact, according to the report by the Centers for Disease Control, falling is number one accidental cause of death among older Americans over age 65, resulting in 27,000 deaths every year. The actual number of all registered cases of falling is even scarier – almost 30 million per year, resulting in 7 million injuries. The alarming fact is that with every fall the chance of new one is twice more likeable.
What threats come with falls for elder people?
Broken legs, arms, hips, wrists (even spinal column in most severe cases) are the most common injuries which occur during the fall, but for elder patients it doesn`t end there. Every tiniest fraction can cause a chain of negative outcomes, such as infections, necrosis, blood clots. Each of these aftermaths are like a time bomb in elder body, which can detonate years after actual trauma. Other dangerous repercussions of fall are head trauma which can lead to concussion, brain damage or even cerebral hemorrhage.
Why the falls occur so often?
The most common causes of falls for elder people are pretty trivial, actually: shortness of sight, unfitting shoes, uneven flooring, stairs that are too steep, different obstacles in living space, even certain medications that slow down reactions. All of this can be avoided if senior people are being taken care of or live with their families. Unfortunately, many cases remain unreported by elders, who don`t want to worry their relatives with something that “not so important”.
What to do to prevent falls?
If you are worried about your elder parents there are simple preventive measures that you can conduct any time (preferably sooner). Medical exam to determine the risk is the first and most important one. That includes tests for bone health and reviewing medications that are being prescript – some of them can make patient sleepy or deteriorate locomotor skills.
Checking the eye condition is the second step, because it`s the most often cause of falls for elder people. Don`t wait for the person complaining about his or hers sight – often the changes with our vision related to the age are happening so gradually, we may not even notice them.
You can decrease the risk of fall on your own, by doing a home safety inspection. Pay attention to the rugs that lay loosely on the floor, planks or nails sticking out of the flooring or other obstacles that can occur on the way. The bright lightning in all areas of the house is also important, as well as handrails in bathroom and near the stairs.