Elderly Falls: How Likely Is It I Will Fall?
Every year, 1 out of 4 older adults falls. A person 65 or older suffers a fall in the U.S. every second of every day.
Of course, your risk depends on a number of factors, from medications to your health condition, strength, balance, and the home environment. But, clearly, this is a common problem that many of us will share as we get older.
We lose muscle and bone mass and muscle strength starting at age 30. But, we experience pronounced changes after 50, with a 15% average strength loss per decade. This often causes people to do less activity at a time when they need to do more to counteract the declines. At the same time, balance often suffers along with health issues and a sedentary lifestyle. Many age-related factors combine to make falls so common.
All of us probably know someone who fell in their home and suffered an injury like a broken hip. Unfortunately, for most of those people, the story doesn’t end there. Typically, they face a tough road ahead.
Why Will Falls Likely Cause Me to Move to an ALF?
Falls are the number one cause of emergency room visits and the leading cause of injury deaths among older Americans.
Falling is a strong predictor of assisted living and nursing home placement. Why? As mentioned above, many falls result in ER visits, hospitalizations, and injuries. And, for older adults, it is much harder to recuperate from these consequences.
An older adult going to the ER or staying in the hospital is likely to have repeat visits. An injury often leads to the need for surgery and/or rehabilitation. For someone with health issues, this can be the slippery slope away from independence. If a person has even mild cognitive impairment, such transitions can speed up their decline significantly. Even a relatively healthy senior may suffer long-term consequences from falls.
Meanwhile, 90% of older Americans want to stay at home as they age. And, 80% think their current home is where they will always live. Fortunately, many studies have shown that preventative interventions delay or reduce the frequency of falls and the dreaded result of having to leave home (or worse).
How Can I Prevent Falls and Stay in My Home?
The first step is evaluating risk. You can start with our room-by-room home safety checklist. The home environment often contributes to falls. And, quick fixes can eliminate a great deal of risk.
However, as we’ve described, many factors contribute to fall risk. So, if you are really committed to staying safe at home (or worried about elderly loved ones), consider getting a professional home safety assessment. Watch our home safety assessment video to learn more and contact us at 727-447-5845 to schedule.
Our comprehensive care management and home care services provide the support you need to stay safe and remain at home.
Our care managers can:
1. Walk through the home evaluating safety issues and making personalized recommendations.
2. Review risk factors for falls, including:
3. Identify devices, services, and products that could help lower fall risk, such as:
*Handyman and home modification services
*Emergency Response Systems
*Medical equipment and assistive devices
*Physical & Occupational therapy
*Home care support services
4. Coordinate care and serve as a patient advocate to ensure the best outcomes for your health. Reduce risks, stop repeat hospitalizations, and spot problems for early intervention. This brings the elder better quality of life in the comfort of their home. It offers the family peace of mind and less stress.
Our in-home care team can provide the customized, affordable support you need to stay safe. Here are some of the services we offer and why they’re key to preventing falls and keeping you at home:
Medication errors, side effects, and interactions can double the risk for falls. More than half of elders make an error self-administering medications.
Up to 80 percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Hygiene may suffer due to fear of falling.
Maintaining a clean, clutter-free home
Experts estimate that between 35% and 40% of falls result from factors related to the environment.
Nutrition needs change as we get older. We lose lean body mass and need more nutrient-dense food to maintain strength. Many older adults eat less or less healthily due to challenges with meal preparation and loneliness. This puts them at risk for various health consequences and weakness.