Why do older people fall?
This is actually not a question that people often ask me. Instead, they usually want to know things like “How do I keep my mother from falling?” or “What should I do? My grandfather’s been falling.”
In this post, I’ll cover:
- How understanding just why aging adults fall can help you keep an older parent — or yourself — safer;
- Why personalized fall prevention works better than relying on general fall prevention tips;
- The four-step process I use to help older adults with falls, and how you can use this to avoid falls.
- A practical example showing you how to put this in use.
Why you must understand why older people fall
Most people know that falls are dangerous for older adults. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. Fear of falling can also seriously affect an aging adult’s quality of life, and can keep a person from being active.
So, many seniors and family caregivers are interested in fall prevention. And the good news is that although it’s not possible to prevent all falls, it almost always IS possible to take actions that will reduce the chance of a bad fall.
But how, exactly, should you go about reducing fall risk?
Now, you can — and should — try to implement the general tips that are often listed on a fall prevention resource: exercise, medication review with the doctor, vision checks, and home safety reviews.
But if you really want to help an older person avoid falls, I recommend you learn to better understand why he or she might fall.
Why? Because by understanding why an older person falls, you’ll then be able to:
- Identify which fall prevention strategies are most likely to help the person you worry about.
- Recognize risky situations, and take steps to avoid them.
- Know which medical conditions — and/or medications — to ask the doctors to look into.
- Understand what may have brought on a specific fall, which can help you avoid future falls.
In other words, learning why older people fall means that you’ll be able to figure out why YOUR older relative is likely to fall. [Read more…]