Contrary to popular belief, falling is not a normal part of the aging process; however, every day seniors fall! There are a variety of reasons: poor balance, loss of strength, medication side effects, or simple trips over obstacles in their homes. Once a senior falls the risk of falling again increases, too. The good news is that regardless of how the fall occurs, there are still plenty of ways to prevent falls in the elderly.
Fall Prevention for Seniors: Debunking the Myths
Seniors who fall, even if they don’t injure themselves, tend to become afraid they may fall again, so much so that they may start to limit their physical activity. They will lose confidence in their abilities to maneuver and be fearful that the next fall may cause serious injury. This is why it’s so important to debunk some of the common myths surrounding falls in seniors. These myths, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) include:
Myth #1: Once you lost strength and flexibility, there’s no getting it back.
The phrase “use it or lose it” is true. The less mobile one is, the more one will regress. So, limiting stairs or mobility in general will surely lead to what the senior fears most- falling again! To be safe, they actually need to do more, but don’t know how. Research has shown that strength can be improved at any age. The trick is to know how to do it and do it safely. It’s never too late to join a senior fitness program. In fact, many of these programs are designed with seniors’ specific needs in mind, and work to improve their overall balance and mobility to reduce the risk of a fall. There are plenty of fall prevention exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home, too.
Myth #2: You’re safe from falling in your home.
It seems feasible, doesn’t it? If you stay in your home, you decrease your chances of falling on a slippery sidewalk or off a curb. On the contrary, though, half of all falls in the elderly occur at home, due to poor lighting, cluttered staircases, or tripping over low furniture, cords and throw rugs.
Myth #3: Falls only happen to older adults who are frail and weak.
One in three older adults age 65 or older fall every year, and not all those seniors fit the stereotype of a feeble person. Health professionals can help you make the changes to your home to reduce those risks significantly.
Myth #4: You don’t need to worry about learning about medication side effects.
Hold on! Many medications cause side effects that could increase your risk of a fall. These include weakness or dizziness, or some may make you sleepy when you least expect it. Make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all your current medications, as well as when starting a new one, so you know about any hazardous interactions or side effects. Sometimes just making a switch to taking a certain medication at night may make a difference.
Myth #5: Talking about your concerns of falling could lead to a decrease in your independence.
If you’re worried about falling, talking to a loved one or a doctor is key in helping you decrease your risk as there are resources to help you. Your family wants you to feel safe, and your doctor can help you find ways to maintain your mobility for as long as possible to help reduce your risk of falling.
American Senior Communities isn’t just for residential care. We offer a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations in Indiana and Kentucky designed to extend independence and keep seniors where they want to be… at home! Contact us today to request more information.