While not widely known, falls are the leading cause of accidental death among those aged 65 and older and the number one cause of hospitalizations. It is estimated that 31 billion dollars are spent annually on medical costs related to fall injuries. While it may seem that falls are inevitable among the elderly, they can be prevented. Discuss with a doctor any potential side effects of medication you are currently taking, as certain drugs may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo that can lead to falls. Enrolling in an exercise program is a great way to not only retain but gain strength, balance, flexibility, and durability. Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle; if a fear of falling is preventing you from going outside, it is recommended to talk to someone. Wear shoes that are properly fitted and provide traction. Make sure your home is clear of debris on the floor and has good lighting and handrails. During the winter months, it is also recommended to keep a cell phone on you. If you need to prevent ice buildup on your outdoor pathways, use plenty of salt or ice-melting products to get rid of ice. Finally, letting someone know where you are going in the winter and giving them an estimate of how long you will be is a good idea.
Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with one of our podiatrists from The Podiatry Center, PC. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.
Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.
How to Prevent Falls
Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:
- Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
- Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
- Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
- Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
- Utilizing a walker or cane
- Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
- Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness
Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious injury.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Millburn, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.Read more about Falls Prevention