To be honest, people don’t usually ask me this.
Instead, they want to know things like “How do I keep my mother from falling?” or “What should I do? My grandfather’s been falling.”
After all, falls are a scary thing. 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 sadly, can keep a person from being active and thriving.
So, many older adults and family caregivers are interested in fall prevention because the risks are so great. 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.
If you want to learn more, you’re in the right place.
In this post, I’ll cover:
- How understanding why aging adults fall can help you keep an older parent — or yourself — safer,
- Why personalized fall prevention plans work better than relying on general fall prevention tips,
- The four-step process I use to help older adults prevent falls,
- A practical example showing you how to use these steps to avoid falls yourself.
First, understand why older people fall
There are many reasons that aging adults fall. Most older people will be falling due to their own unique combination of reasons.
So how, exactly, should YOU go about reducing fall risk?
Now, you can — and should — try to implement the general tips that are often listed in most fall prevention resources: exercise, medication review with the doctor, vision checks, and home safety reviews.
But if you really want to help an older loved one avoid falls, I recommend you learn to better understand why he or she, in particular, might fall.
Why? Because when you understanding the specific reasons an older person may be falling, 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 which medications — to ask your doctors to look into,
- Understand what may have caused 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 — and take steps to help them. [Read more…]