Several studies have found that fall related fatalities are increasingly prevalent in the elderly community. In 2016 alone, close to 25,000 deaths of those 75 and older, were attributed to falls. Consequently, we saw $50 billion spent in fall related medical care as well. It is important to note the severity of these falls and how they can and should be prevented. By preventing these falls, we are raising the possibility that these older adults may be able to live a more independent lifestyle for a longer period of time.
Some contributing factors to elderly falls include chronic disease, sedentary lifestyle, and use of prescription drugs, as these can all effect balance. These falls can result in severe blood loss, trauma, head injury, and severe fractures. Actions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of these falls are, balance and weight bearing exercises to increase muscle strength. Other precautions include, routine vision checks, appropriate footwear, and osteoporosis treatment. It may also be helpful to review medications which may result in low blood pressure that could lead to loss of balance. Every 20 minutes an older adult dies as a result from a fall in the United States, here is a list of more precautions that can be taken to help deter fall related fatalities.
- Pick up items from the floor
- Move furniture that is in your way
- Consider a walk in tub
- Secure loose carpeting and rugs
- Utilize a night light in bedroom
- Move all kitchen items in reach to avoid using step stools
- Consider an alert system in case of a fall
- Avoid using ladders
In the case of a fall, it is important that you do not panic, as panicking may prevent you from making rational choices thus, risking further injury. If you posses a medical alert device, notify someone right away. If you are unable to stand, stay down once someone has been alerted of your fall. If you choose to stand, it is important that yo do so cautiously, roll to one side, and come to all fours. If you are near a stable object pull yourself up using the support from the object, if you are not near a stable object, consider crawling towards one. Lastly, it is important that you are seen by a doctor regardless of how severe or non severe you have classified your fall to be.
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