The Consequences of Falls in the Elderly
For those of us who can still count ourselves as young— basically anyone below the age of 60 or 65— falling, though unpleasant is not such a big deal. We may bruise or scratch ourselves. In extreme cases, if it is a bad fall, we might even break or fracture something. For the most part though, it would take a fairly nasty or violent fall to really do us damage!
If you’re a senior however, things are a little different. The smallest of accidental falls, according to research, can sometimes do serious damage – even to the point of fatality.
Why and Where Falls May Occur
Studies show that there are numerous risk factors that contribute to seniors losing their balance and falling. Some of these include the use of certain medication, diseases that affect motor skills and coordination as well as external factors such as slippery or irregular surfaces.
According to statistics, the breakdown of where falls occur out of the total number of those documented is as follows. Please note these figures are percentages of fatal falls occurring annually in seniors:
- 60% – within the home
- 30% – public spaces
- 10% – dedicated health care institutions
By the figures, one thing that becomes clear is most falls occur in environments where specialized care and precautions may be limited.
What Are the Implications?
Falls may cause your loved ones serious pain even if the accident is a minor one. Seniors depending on pre-existing medical conditions may lose mobility temporarily and have to suffer serious discomfort for an extended period of time.
Bones may not heal and require the use of medication indefinitely. In cases which are more extreme mobility may be permanently lost. Falls which result in impact to the head or spine may be fatal and can even result in brain damage or memory loss.
To make a long story short, if a senior suffers a fall, it is no small matter.
What Can You Do?
As someone who is caring for a senior loved one, you might wonder what it is you can do to help your elderly family member and ensure their safety. Some steps include fall proofing the home, hiring and attendant or being physically present around your loved one more often than not.
Alternatively, you can also look into residences for the elderly like those we provide at Avant Gard Senior Living and Memory Care. We offer seniors in California various apartment floorplans to choose from with specifically designed layouts for added safety. We also offer our residents additional facilitation and 24 hour care ensuring that those with us are safe from falls and any other accidental mishaps.
Remember, falls in the elderly are not to be taken lightly so if there is someone you love who you are concerned about, get in touch with us and let’s help ensure their safety and wellbeing!