Millions of Americans ages 65 and older fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than one out of every four older adults falls each year, but fewer than half tell their doctor. Falling one time doubles the chance that a person will fall again.
Falls can cause more serious injuries, like broken bones or head injuries. Hip fractures are particularly common, with more than 95% caused by falling.
In addition to the physical injuries, falls can take a mental and emotional toll. An older adult who has fallen, with or without injury, may feel a loss of independence that leads to a sense of isolation or a decrease in quality of life. As a caregiver, your concerns increase, as does your caregiving workload.
You can help reduce the risk of falling with by creating an action plan for preventing falls. It starts with a candid conversation about overall safety. Discuss preventative measures that can be implemented and consider scheduling a medical appointment for a falls risk assessment.
If your loved one has chronic conditions that involve balance issues or joint stiffness, make sure that health care providers are aware of symptoms. Medical providers should be able to help manage these concerns or provide recommendations for doing so, such as seeing a physical therapist.
Eye health is also an important consideration. Age-related conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration can affect vision, as can bifocal lenses. Vision issues can cause an older adult to fall, especially in poorly lit conditions. Install night lights and other lighting as needed to simplify navigating a space in the dark.
Signs of Mobility Issues
Changes in mobility can be embarrassing for older adults. Be on the lookout for changes that could signal a loss of mobility, and have a conversation if you notice any of the following signs:
- Difficulty rising from chairs
- Holding onto walls, furniture, or someone’s arm while standing or walking
- Decrease in activity
- Change in gait
- Muscle stiffness
Changes like these can signal balance, gait, or strength issues. Sometimes these types of changes can be a sign of a bigger health concern. It’s important to discuss any of these symptoms with a medical provider or physical therapist. A cane or walker may be suggested to help provide stability and maintain activity levels.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a fall, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.