Aging comes with numerous challenges, most of which can be overcome with a good diet, plenty of exercise, and regular visits with your AltaMed physician.
However, one challenge that can be devastating is falling. It is the leading cause of injury among older adults with more than one in three people over the age of 65 falling each year. The risk of falling and the related injuries go up as we continue to age.
Sometimes the fear of falling is so great that is keeps seniors from leaving the house, participating in normal activities, or even getting together with friends and family. But there are some simple things you can do to help reduce your risk of falling and the related injuries.
Preventing falls and injuries
Taking care of your overall health is one way to help reduce the risk of falling. It’s also a good way to reduce the risk of injury, should you fall. Other things you can do include:
- Stay physically active
- Get eyes and hearing tested
- Keep your bones strong
- Get enough sleep
- Limit alcohol intake
- Report the side effects of any medicine
- Stand up slowly
- Use a cane or walker to help feel steady
- Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes
- Be careful on wet or icy surfaces
- Tell your doctor if you’ve fallen, even if you didn’t hurt yourself
- Make sure your home is lit well
- Add grab bars near the toilet or shower
- Tape down rugs or cords
Falls by the numbers
Millions of older Americans fall every year. Falling once doubles the chances of falling again.
Falls are serious and more often they result in death. The death rate from falls increased 30% from 2007 to 2016. At that pace, there will be seven fall deaths an hour by 2030.
- One out of five falls result in a serious injury like broken bones or a head injury.
- Three million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries.
- More than 800,000 people are hospitalized because of a fall injury.
- Hip fractures put at least 300,000 older people in the hospital each year.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways.
- Traumatic brain injuries in seniors are most often caused by falls.
The risk factors
We fall for a variety of reasons. There is always something at the core of why people fall. Knowing those reasons can help us reduce the risk factors that lead to falls. Those factors include:
- Lower body weakness
- Not enough vitamin D
- Walking difficulties
- Medications that cause dizziness
- Poor vision
- Foot pain
- Wrong shoes
- Broken or uneven steps
- Clutter on the floor
Helping you as you age
Seniors need special care to ensure their health, wellbeing, and independence. AltaMed Senior Services offers a wide range of medical, dental and support services for seniors in our community. Our physicians and staff will work with you and your family to create a care plan that meets your needs. AltaMed is committed to offering care with dignity and respect and providing access to services that will help you grow healthy, no matter your age.
To get started with AltaMed senior services and care, call (888) 499-9303.