Prevent Falls For Seniors January 12 2016

Did you know that each year 1 out of 3 adult’s ages 65 or older fall causing long-term consequences such as head injuries, shoulder, forearm, spine, pelvic and hip fractures. According to the CDC

“...each year at least 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures and more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.” (1) 

Let’s take action to prevent these falls and help our family members stay safe, secure, and independent. Seniors are vulnerable to falls from medications, home hazards, and inactivity.

Medications

Learning about the medications family member’s take and knowing if these medicines have side effects of dizziness and drowsiness, could help prevent falling. However, understanding what vitamins your family member't take is also important. 

For example, a recent study published in the JAMA internal Medicine, found that a higher dose of vitamin D doesn't improve mobility and it may actually increase the risk in falls among certain seniors. However, the study doesn't establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between higher does of vitamin D and more falls. According to Cummings

" there is no evidence that you need or will benefit from any vitamin D supplementation". 

Seniors should follow the recommended amounts of nutrient naturally.(4)

Home Hazards

An elderly or senior family member's environment could also be an issue such as uneven surfaces, poor lighting, or stairs that need repair could be a hazard in the home. Having a home safety check can help identify potential falling hazards and help reduce the risk of falling.

For example preventing falls in the bathroom, one should look to make sure that shower grab bars are installed around the shower, bathtub, and near the toilet If necessary for the family member getting on or off the toilet. A raised toilet seat for the elderly family member may be needed. Non-skid rubber tub mats should be placed in the tub and shower area to help prevent disastrous falls in or out the tub or shower.

Inactivity 

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Lack of physical activity could lead to a decrease in balance, coordination, and bone and muscle strength. Making sure that your family member has an exercise program or  that they do regular activities can help with strength, balance, and coordination.

Not only is staying active important, but also eating a healthy diet can help with building strength and energy to make sure that your family member can live an active and independent life.

Sources: 
  1. http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/stay_independent-custom.pdf 
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/what_you_can_do_brochure-a.pdf 
  4. http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20160104/could-higher-vitamin-d-doses-harm-seniors-prone-to-falls?page=2