Why do Seniors Injure Themselves More as They Age?
Posted: Jul 15, 2018
Aging itself does not cause injuries. Everybody loses abilities and muscle strength with enough age. Seniors are at a higher risk of injuries because they tend to fall more due to aging muscles, declining eyesight or drug side effects. Just the fear of falling can affect a senior to where they are not as active as they once were.
Nothing good can come from a fall if you’re a senior. Seniors and their caregivers are interested in fall prevention because the risks are so great. Even though you cannot prevent all falls, there is a lot you can do to reduce the risk of a fall. If you can recognize a hazardous condition and avoid or correct it with your senior, you may have just prevented a fall.
Make sure your loved elder can see well enough to navigate unfamiliar places. If your senior is independent (Aren’t they all?) and is fearful that telling you that she/he can’t see well, they might not be honest about how well they can see. If you suspect that your senior’s vision is failing you can ask them questions to determine that your suspicions are true. Ask if they can tell you the time from a clock across the room. Or if they can see something going on outside.
Another common cause of falls is medication. Be sure to take stock in your senior’s current medical condition for signs of weakness, dizziness or illness. Review medications with them and visit with their doctor so you know which meds can cause dizziness or affect their balance. This puts you in a position to change the time of day that medications are taken or keep activities to a minimum if your senior must take medications with undesired side affects.
Falls are the third leading cause of unintentional death for the whole US population. But falls are the NUMBER ONE cause of death for those 71 and older. Statistics show that when a senior older than 65 takes a minor fall and nobody is around, they will most likely not tell anyone. The reasons can vary, from not wanting loved ones to worry about them or fear of losing their independence.
The good news is that a little exercise and diet goes a long way. Most types of physical activities are good exercise, like walking or just moving your arms up and down. You can move your arms sitting or standing, with or without hand weights. It kind of depends on your current activity level as to which exercises will help your senior the most. Steadying themselves with a chair helps with a lot of exercises because it makes your elder feel like they have a safety net to keep them from falling during an exercise.
Learning why your senior has fallen means that you’ll be able to figure out why your older loved one is likely to fall and take steps to help them. When you understand the reasons a senior might fall then you will be able to recognize hazardous situations and take precautionary steps to prevent them. Understanding what caused a fall can better prepare you to prevent a fall in the future. If your senior is having problems with a new drug prescription it won’t do you much good to add lighting to help your senior see better. Learn the "WHY" first then make adjustments to help your senior prevent falls.
Remember, seniors count on help from you, their trusted ally to help them avoid falls.
David DuPont began working with retirement homes in 2003 when he helped solve a huge problem that almost all retirement homes were having: how to get seniors on and off the transportation buses safely. He has been a fierce advocate for senior safety