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Preventing Fall

Quick Facts

• The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than for men.
• Two-thirds of those who experience a fall will fall again within six months.
• A decrease in bone density contributes to falls and resultant injuries.
• Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and loss of bone mass and
• At least one – third of all falls in the elderly involve environmental hazards in the home.

Five Key Risk Factors of Falls Among Older Adults

• Factor #1: Osteoporosis
• Factor #2: Lack of Physical Activity
• Factor #3: Impaired Vision
• Factor #4: Medications
• Factor #5: Environmental Hazards

Causes and Prevention

The causes of falls are known as risk factors.  Although no single risk factor causes all falls, the greater the number of risk factors to which an individual is exposed, the greater the probability of a fall and the more likely the results of the fall will threaten person’s independence.  Many of these risk factors are preventable.  As obvious as it may sound, a lack of knowledge about risk factors and how to prevent them contributes to many falls.  Some people believe that falls are a normal part of aging, and as such are not preventable.  Lack of knowledge leads to lack of preventive action, resulting in falls.

Prevention Tips

It is useful to conduct a walk-through of your home to identify possible problems that may lead to falling. A home visit by an interior designer or occupational therapist might also be useful in that they are trained to identify risk factors and recommend appropriate actions.

Outdoors: repair cracks and abrupt edges of sidewalks and driveways, install handrails on stairs and steps, remove high doorway thresholds trim shrubbery along the pathway to the home, keep walk areas clear of clutter, rocks and tools, keep walk areas clear of snow and ice, install adequate lighting by doorways and along walkways leading to doors.

All Living Spaces: use a change in color to denote changes in surface types or levels, secure rugs with nonskid tape as well as carpet edges, avoid throw rugs, remove oversize furniture and objects, have at least one phone extension in each level of the home and post emergency numbers at each phone, add electrical outlets, reduce clutter, check lighting for adequate illumination and glare control, maintain nightlights or motion-sensitive lighting throughout home, use contrast in paint, furniture and carpet colors, install electronic emergency response system if needed.

Please watch this video: Shannon Brady, PT, DPT explains how older adults can work with a physical therapist to improve their balance and prevent falls.

One Comment

  1. Nov 13, 2011
    12:51 am

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    Great! thanks for the share!

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