- Falls are a major cause of brain injuries.
- This increased risk of falling may be the result of changes that come with aging, and certain medical conditions, such as arthritis, cataracts or hip problems.
- Contrary to this perception many falls can be prevented.
- The following information is from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Facts on Falls among Older Adults
- Risk of falling increases with age.
- For people age 65 and older, more than half of all falls happen at home.
- Often people do not recall a fall that happened 3-12 months earlier.
- Older adults who fall once are likely to fall again within a year 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
- The risk of falling increases dramatically as the number of risk factors increases like:
- Having physical limitations.
- Being mentally impaired.
- Having weak muscles or balance problems.
- Having more than one chronic disease.
- Wearing shoes with thick soft soles.
- Taking a number of medications.
- Having vision problems.
Reducing Risk of Falls
The National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease control & Prevention recommends that you:
- Maintain a regular exercise program.
- Make your home safer.
- Review all your medication with a health care provider to reduce side effects and interactions.
- Have your vision checked.
Muscle strengthening exercises can reduce the risk of falling and fracturing bones and improve the ability to live independently.
Physical activity need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits.
Window Falls Prevention:
- Place furniture away from windows.
- Screens do not prevent children from falling.
- Open windows to a maximum of 4 inches wide.
- Secure windows with windows guards.
- Open windows from the top instead.
Shelley Worley – Health Promotion Director, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060