Senior Care: Understanding the Risk for Falls

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 5/9/2018 5:58 PM by Interim HealthCare
Safety for your elderly loved one comes first. Even though there are several risks to face when you are caring for a senior, one of the most common is falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2.5 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms all over the country due to injuries sustained by falls. 

The effects can be devestating, potentially leading to permanent consequences that can greatly diminish a senior's quality of life. Interim HealthCare of Racine, WI, wants you to understand the falls and risks for falling, so that you can modify your care methods to help reduce the risks and keep your senior safe.
Some things that you should know about fall risk among the elderly include:

• 20 percent of falls result in a major injury such as a head injury or a fractured bone.
• More than 700,000 people end up admitted to the hospital and undergoing an extended hospital stay due to injuries sustained from falls. These are usually hip fractures or brain injuries.
• The vast majority, upwards of 95 percent, of all hip fractures are caused by falls.
• Around 250,000 elderly adults are hospitalized for hip fractures each year.
• The majority of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls.
• Common injuries from falls including broken ankles, wrists, arms, and hips.
• Seniors who are on blood thinners are at particular risk when it comes to a fall due to the possibility of excessive bleeding even after a relatively minor injury.

Injuries that result from falls are very likely to diminish your parent's quality of life. They reduce the amount of activity that your parent can do and the activities of daily living that she can handle on her own. This not only has a physical impact on her wellbeing, but an emotional and mental health impact as well.

The first step in protecting your loved one from the serious injuries associated with a fall is understanding what could put her at greater risk of experiencing such a fall.

Some issues that increase the chances that your elderly parent will experience a fall include:

• Weakness or limited range of motion in the lower body
• Low vision or conditions that impact vision such as glaucoma or macular degeneration
• Ill-fitting or uncomfortable footwear
• Foot pain
• Not enough vitamin D
• Mobility issues that make walking or taking large enough steps difficult
• Medications that have side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, or sedatives
• Dementia
• An uneven gait
• Balance problems
• Frequent dizziness or fainting spells
• Arthritis or stiffness in the joints
• Lack of proper handrails along steps
• Lack of proper grab bars in the bathroom
• Throw rugs
• Clutter
• Tightly arranged furniture
• Carpeted steps

If your elderly loved one falls, even if it seems minor, and hits her head, it is important that she receives medical attention promptly. Brain injuries can occur even in a minor fall and the person may seem fine but actually be suffering serious consequences that manifest later.

If you have an aging loved one in need of senior care contact Interim HealthCare today.  

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