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Falls In Elderly Adults: Common Causes and Fall Prevention Tips

elderly falls

Falls are one of the top causes of injury and death among older adults. Most frequently, falls occur at home, but they can also happen outside the home, public, or on a trip. Falls are most dangerous when they happen suddenly, usually because people have lost their balance and balance judgment as they age.

As someone who looks after the well-being of your grandparents and friends, it is important to be aware of the causes of falls in older adults. This information will help you recognize risk factors and take the proper precautions to keep your loved ones safe on their feet.

Common Causes of Falls

Falls is a word that is associated with older adults since it’s a common occurrence among them. The most common causes of falls in elderly adults are:

1. Vision Impairments

senior vision impairments

One of the causes of falls among older adults is vision impairment. This is especially true among those suffering from eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma. Vision impairment often causes dizziness and loss of balance, which makes it difficult for people to walk. In addition, people with vision impairment making it hard, if not impossible, to spot fall hazards like steps, puddles, and thresholds.

2. Poor Physical Fitness

Another common cause of falls among older adults is poor physical fitness. As people age, they become less active and gradually lose their ability to perform basic physical activities. Failure to engage in even light exercise regularly results in muscle weakness, reduced flexibility, and compromised balance. These changes in body composition make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to maintain balance and stability while walking.

3. Chronic Diseases

senior arthritis

Older adults are frequently plagued by chronic health conditions, notably diabetes and arthritis. While these diseases may not cause sudden changes in physical state, they can lead to gradual weakness and loss of balance in older adults. Diabetes is associated with poor circulation and nerve damage, which can cause fainting, dizziness, and vertigo. As a result, seniors with diabetes have an increased risk of falling. People who suffer from arthritis are prone to falls due to muscle weakness, fatigue, and diminished strength and endurance.

4. Surgery

Surgeries such as hip replacements can leave older adults weak, in discomfort, and less mobile than before the surgical procedures. This may lead them to take fewer steps over time and have slower reaction times, to their own detriment.

5. Side Effects of Medication

side effects of medication

There are many medications that older adults use on a daily basis to treat different ailments. While the medications help them get better and sustain a quality of life, some can negatively affect balance and mobility in older adults. Some common types of medication that cause balance problems include pain medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, and diuretics.

6. Environmental Factors

Fall in elderly adults mostly occurs in or around seniors’ homes. Environmental factors, like clutter, poor lighting, loose carpets, slick floors, and lack of safety equipment (e.g., ramps, grab bars, lifts), can jeopardize an older adult’s safety. In most cases, hazardous medical conditions eventually lead to accidents and falls that prevent seniors from the ability to age in place.

Now that you know the causes of falls in older adults, let’s discuss some effective fall prevention tips.

9 Fall Prevention Tips

fall prevention

Fall prevention is a process of recognizing and avoiding activities, situations, or environments that may lead to a fall. For this reason, many people refer to fall prevention as “prevention first.” We at Wellness Home Care give emphasis on the concept of fall prevention because it is an effective method of preventing falls in older adults. We have compiled a list of 9 fall prevention tips that we would like to share.

1. Remove Furniture, Items That Can Cause Trips And Falls

A good place to start when trying to make your home safer is removing items that represent tripping hazards in it. These items include furniture with large feet, clutter, and houseplants, which can be tripping hazards due to the way they stick in spots. In addition, be sure that all electrical cords are placed on the floor, as they commonly are tripping hazards.

2. Increase Physical Activity

increase physical activity

Aside from making your home a safe environment for your loved ones to live in, you can also increase their physical activity in your home. It will help improve the strength and balance of your loved ones and make it less likely that they’ll fall. Some activities that you can encourage them to do on a regular basis include:

  • Walking
  • Doing simple exercises like stretching, 
  • dancing
  • gardening
  • Moving about freely with ease.

3. Encourage Loved Ones To Wear Sensible Shoes

Wearing sensible shoes can go a long way in helping people avoid falls. Shoes that have rubber soles provide good traction, making it less likely that they’ll slip on the floor. It is also a great idea to get rid of shoes with slippery soles, as they can make it difficult to maintain balance and stability while walking.

4. Light Up The Living Space

light up the living space

A good way to ensure that your home is properly lit is at all times is to use night lights and other devices that provide bright light in dark areas. This will help people see their way around without much effort and prevent them from tripping over items in the room, like furniture and wastebaskets.

5. Use Assistive Devices

The best way to prevent falls is to have people use the right equipment. The best way to help people get the right equipment is by having them try out different types of assistive devices designed for older adults. These can include:

  • Handrails for both sides of your house stairways
  • wheelchairs
  • Raised toilet seat or one with armrests
  • Grab bars for the tub or shower
  • walkers
  • Non-Slip treads for bare-wood steps
  • Sturdy plastic seat for the tub or shower

6. Keep Your Love One Bones Strong

keep your love one bones strong

A strong body and bones are important for older adults, as they need them to balance out and maintain stability in their bodies. A lack of strength can lead to falls. To help your loved ones stay strong, you should encourage them to engage in physical activities that challenge their muscles or encourage them to consume calcium-rich foods every day. Eating calcium-rich foods on a daily basis can help maintain strong bones, which prevents the risk of falls.

7. Go for Regular Eye Check-Ups

One of the causes of falls in seniors is vision problems and eye problems, which can lead them not to be able to see properly and become confused or disoriented, leading them to fall. It is important for seniors to regularly check their eyes with an eye doctor to help detect any changes in their vision and eye health. In addition, regular checks with a doctor also help in monitoring older people’s overall health.

8. Wear Clothes That Fit Properly

Loose or too tight clothing can be a tripping hazard in seniors and lead to falls, so it is very important that they wear clothes that fit properly. These clothes should be loose enough to provide free movement but not so loose that they can trip on them. It is also crucial for the person to wear shoes that are the right size and appropriate for their feet.

9. Have Your Loved One Get Enough Sleep

senior sleeping

In addition to the other tips for preventing falls, it is also important for your loved ones to get enough sleep at night. Not getting enough sleep can have some side effects that make it more likely for them to fall, such as developing problems with their mental state and making them tired and weak. Establish a routine for them to follow and make sure that they sleep on time every night. Make sure that they also get enough sleep during the weekends.

Final Thoughts

Falls in the elderly are serious problems that can have long-term consequences, like death and disability. And while there are factors and causes of falls in seniors, preventing falls is very easy as long as you do it consistently. The tips offered in this article will help you improve the safety of your home and help prevent falls in your loved ones.

Wellness Home Care understands your concerns for your loved ones. We are firm believers that preventing falls is crucial to maintaining the safety and health of seniors. These fall prevention tips will help you reduce stress when trying to monitor your loved ones’ activities and movements around the house. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and helpful Home Care representatives at (860)667-2273; we are here to help.