Worried about falls in an older person?
You’re right to be concerned, especially if the older person has already experienced a fall. Research suggests that falling once doubles your chance of falling again.
And falls, as everyone knows, can cause life-changing injuries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that:
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries
For these reasons and more, preventing falls is a major focus of preventive care for older adults, and is a big part of what we do in geriatrics. (Learn more about how we do this in this article: Why Older People Fall & How to Reduce Fall Risk.)
But if we want to protect older people from the potentially devastating consequences of falls, it’s not enough to help them reduce falls.
We also need to think about how we can reduce the likelihood of injury from a fall.
In this article, I’ll share with you three approaches that can help reduce fall-related injuries.
Then I’ll address two other approaches that are sometimes tried, but are less likely to help.